Local people will be going out on the beat with police in a new force pilot scheme being launched in Lutterworth.
The project, called Neighbourhood Active, is being trialled in the Harborough district town as well as the St Matthews and St Peters area of Leicester.
Police say they hope the new venture will “create community cohesion and empowerment amongst local residents”.
Neighbourhood Active members will take part alongside police in engagement walks, “providing visible reassurance amongst their communities”.
Patrolling in pairs, they will wear ‘Neighbourhood Active’ high visibility jackets.
They will be able to stay in contact with their local beat team by phone as well as logging and mapping any issues or areas of concern.
Volunteers will also use community apps like ‘Fix My Street’ and ‘Love Leicester’ to report a wide range of issues.
Insp Jim Purdie, who heads up Harborough police, is overseeing Lutterworth’s Neighbourhood Active initiative.
“There is a real sense of community in Lutterworth,” said Insp Purdie.
“So I’m hopeful this new initiative will only strengthen those community ties and also provide an opportunity to build on the relationship between the local police and residents.
“Our team of Neighbourhood Active members are all Lutterworth residents.
“People from various backgrounds and of different ages to enable us to engage with all residents across the community.”
Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews said: “This is exactly the kind of scheme needed to bring communities together and empower local people to work in collaboration for change.
“I have promised to deliver every possible policing resource to make our streets safer.
“But I also believe there are many benefits to encouraging residents to work hand-in-hand with the police to restore peace and pride among our communities and proactively solve problems,” said Mr Matthews.
“The Government has set out ambitious plans to re-engage police with their local communities and reduce fear of crime and this is a fine example of that approach.
“I wish the trailblazers of this initiative, who have offered their eyes and ears for the good of their neighbourhoods and Leicestershire Police, every success in this exciting venture.”
Neighbourhood Active had to delay its start amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the innovative scheme has now been launched as coronavirus restrictions have been gradually lifted over the last few weeks.
All Neighbourhood Active members will go through a vetting process to become community volunteers.
Source: (Harborough Mail)