Concerns as police urge Finchfield residents to help tackle problems
Its crime catalogue ranges from fly-tippers to hammer-wielding masked raiders – but now residents in one area are being asked to don bright yellow vests to help police in their fight against the bad guys.
Members of the public in Finchfield, Wolverhampton, are being encouraged to volunteer to patrol the streets and report crimes they witness.
Those who take part in the new initiative will not have any police powers but officers hope the scheme will improve the force's links to the community. But the moves have sparked concerns volunteers could be confronted with dangerous situations.
Former West Bromwich police chief John Mellor, aged 83, said: "I think it's an excellent idea but I think there could be problems carrying it out.
"Patrolling the streets is difficult enough for trained officers. It is not just a question of seeing something and reporting it. It's what to do if you are confronted with all kind of situations."
The volunteers can report things like anti-social behaviour, fly tipping and graffiti. It comes after armed robberies at Co-op in Finchfield, which led to a Shop Watch group being set up.
The first Street Watch scheme in Wolverhampton was set up a year ago in Blakenhall and now has more than 15 volunteers.
West Midlands Police says it is not 'policing on the cheap' despite £126 million of Government cuts over three years.
Sgt Dave Willets said: "We see it as a Neighbourhood Watch on the move. People will know the local area better than the officers." Liz Millman, chairman of the Finchfield Community Association, said: "I think it's a really good idea and I hope there will be plenty of people willing to volunteer."
To get involved call Sgt Willetts on 101 extension 7601 6159.
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