Upminster first in London to use DIY policing scheme
PUBLISHED: 10:45 20 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:05 20 March 2015
A DIY policing scheme announced on the back of a £1.4bn cuts bombshell has been backed by Boris Johnson – who has even vowed to take part.
Street Watch, which involves locals patrolling their neighbourhood in hi-vis jackets and reporting to police, will be launched in Cranham and Upminster on May 2.
Residents of those areas will be the first in London to trial the project, which is the brainchild of Cranham officers Pc Belinda Goodwin and Sgt Ken McNish.
Based on successful schemes in Bedfordshire, Suffolk and the West Midlands, it is intended to ease pressure on the Met following last week’s revelations that a further £800m in cuts will be needed by 2020 – on top of £600m savings already being made by next year.
“Street Watch is by the residents, for the residents,” explained Pc Goodwin. “It’s about them getting to know their neighbours.”
After reading about the existing schemes, Pc Goodwin thought it was a “fantastic” solution to the declining police presence on streets.
“We are getting cut and we need people’s help,” she added.
And any would-be criminals operating in the area on launch day may have to contend with the Mayor of London himself after he signed papers to become an honorary member.
“We had to go through Mopac [Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime] to set it up and we met Boris,” said Pc Goodwin. “He said he wants to come along on launch day and go out.”
Initial patrols will be for a few hours a month. If successful, Street Watch could expand to other areas of Havering and beyond. Pc Goodwin has already been approached by officers from Sutton and other boroughs.
But first she and Sgt McNish must convince residents of its worth. So far the reaction has been “mixed”.
“A lot of people are really keen, others are saying ‘why should we do your job?’” said the Pc. “We’re not asking people to do our job, but to care about their community. We have lost that.
“We speak to neighbours of burglary victims who say ‘I saw someone climbing over the fence’ and when I ask why they did nothing they say ‘I don’t know who lives there’. People don’t even know who they’re living next door to.”