Streetwatch goes from strength to strength in lockdown
#COMMUNITY | Even during lockdown, community spirit has been shining through with more people than ever asking to join our Street Watch scheme – and over a dozen new teams have been set up in the last few months.
There are now 197 Street Watch groups across the West Midlands Force area, with almost 1,750 volunteers signed up to help make our streets a better and safer place to be.
In the last three months of 2020, some 13 Street Watch groups were set up – with a total of eight across #Sandwell and #Birmingham West, and five more were created in #Walsall, #Wolverhampton, #Dudley, #Birmingham East and #Solihull.
Even though our volunteers aren’t able to get out and patrol their areas at the moment due to the pandemic, we've been able to get new members up to speed, by adapting their training.
Instead of being face-to-face it's now in the form of a 40-minute video, which volunteers have been watching in their own homes, so when lockdown is over they will all be ready to hit the streets.
We've also taken this time to offer extra training to our PCSOs so they're more confident about letting people know about Street Watch and how to join up.
So once it’s safe to do so, our hundreds of Street Watch volunteers will be back out, in their high-visibility jackets patrolling in pairs, to deter crime and anti-social behaviour – as well as helping to build up a sense of community spirit in the places they live.
If when they’re out and about, they spot broken paving, lights not working, unsightly graffiti or piles of fly-tipped rubbish, they can report those to the council.
But they're not there to tackle any suspicious activity – that's our job – and they will know who to report it to so we can deal with it.
Sam O'Dell, the force's Street Watch co-ordinator, said: "Despite Covid, we've been having more enquiries to join Street Watch than ever before.
"Maybe it's because some people have had more time at home due to furlough or working from home, or maybe it's a general rise in community spirit.
"But it's just great to see so many wanting to take part – after all, Street Watch is for the community, by the community."
There are also plans to extend the scheme by teaming up with the Canal Trust and having volunteers patrol the towpaths and waterways of the West Midlands.
If you're interested in making a difference and improving the area you live in, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07391 864258.