On the beat to deter crime

Dews Garage - window etching - Sp Con Derek Town - Sept 1986
Dews Garage - window etching - Sp Con Derek Town - Sept 1986

PROJECTS to prevent crime took place on a regular basis a quarter of a century ago. Barely a month or a couple of weeks went by without some new or recycled initiative being rolled out – all in the interest of crime prevention. In this photograph it was another car window etching session on September 13, 1986. Looking on is Special Constable Derek Town, who passed away a few years ago. He was a Special Con in Brighouse for about 25 years, a keen and very loyal volunteer.

To be able to carry out this particular initiative was always thanks to the support given by the garage owners and the late Charles Rastrick who was the garage’s general manager. They always supported our efforts and of course we must remember the excellent work carried out the garage staff who often worked over, unpaid, well into Saturday afternoons to make sure that no one was left out.

It was a common sight to see the mobile car window etching vans outside supermarkets back in the 1980s. And while most did a good job, there were those who while etching the vehicle registration number on the side window suddenly realised the window was not wound up properly resulting in the etched registration number being in the middle of the window. Doing it under the auspices of the police and a well respected garage the queue to have it done often stretched well into Bradford Road.

Back in the 1980s and 90s a number of schemes were started in Brighouse involving the crime prevention department, local police officers and members of the Special Constabulary all joining forces with members of the public in Brighouse and Elland to combat crime.

These included Neighbourhood Watch schemes where over 3,500 householders were involved and then with 250 of the members taking on the role of co-odinators within the schemes they attended quarterly meetings. The co-ordinators were then able to keep many of the members up to date with criminal activities in their area from the information disseminated by the police.

There was a Business Watch scheme on the Armytage Business Park and at Lowfields in Elland, Horse Watch schemes and Pub Watch. One of the most successful schemes started was the Brighouse town centre Shop Watch. Back in those days people wanted to help, but of course these had to be a joint efforts with the local police.

It was through the efforts of the supporters and members of these schemes that over 250,000 leaflets were distributed every year.

Times have changed and things I am sure are done differently but even after retiring 12 years ago just occasionally I am asked if I still have any black stickers, the ones that advise callers the householder does not buy things or the gadget we sold that switched your house lights on if someone knocked on the window or tried to kick the door in.