Inspector urges residents to ‘be our eyes and ears’

Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators and Insp Mohammed Nawaz, PCSOs Amy White and Brian Mardell
Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators and Insp Mohammed Nawaz, PCSOs Amy White and Brian Mardell

BEING part of a Neighbourhood Watch group will not only get people a reduction in their house insurance but it is a good way to help the police.

Inspector Mohammed Nawaz, who heads the Lower Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, is encouraging people to become part of the crime busting group.

“I want these people to be our eyes and ears. I cannot put a bobby on every street, I just don’t have the resources. It is about that community spirit and looking after each other and reporting anything suspicious.

“Anyone who does join we will do them a free crime prevention survey by trained officers.”

Geoff Thompson is in charge of the group for Sherburn Road, Arncliffe Crescent and Wensley Grove, in Rastrick. He said his group had been quite successful in the past and has helped to combat reports of damage and burglaries in the area.

“We got all the reports under control and ended up having meetings with two or three of us there. I would like a few new members to come and keep us informed of what is happening in the area,” he said.

“They can be as involved as they wish. Usually all we ask is for people to attend a meeting once a month then keep in touch by phone or visiting each other to see how it is going. It is just about keeping your eyes and ears open.”

Granny Hall Park resident Frank Dixon has been running the Neighbourhood Watch group for 20 years. “I provide a focal point for people when they have had a crime committed or something has happened,” he said.

“My main job is to communicate. I don’t have meetings. If something happens I send a letter out so people get to know. There has been a couple of instances where I do things that are not directly to do with the police.”

He said he passes round any crime prevention devices he is given and attends all the partners and communities together meetings run by the police every six months.

“It is also a good way of getting to know your neighbours, the fact that you just pass on a letter can sometimes lead to friendships. I would recommend people do it.”

Malcolm Holgate covers part of the Field Lane estate from Highfield Road, Holly Bank Road and Thornton Road in Rastrick. He said you are an excellent set of eyes for the police and in turn help them to catch criminals.

“An added factor is that unfortunately when the elderly get to a certain point the fear effect comes in and it is nice to know that someone can help them with who they need to contact and where,” he said.

If you would like to set up a Neighbourhood Watch group in your area you can contact the station on 01484 405251 and ask to speak to your local police and community support officer.

Insp Nawaz said: “It is about keeping an area safe and caring for one another.”

He is hoping to organise a meeting between neighbourhood coordinators and the PCSOs in the near future.