Future of Streetwatch is in doubt
THE NATIONAL Street Watch organisation, which was formed in East Hampshire, may have reached the end of the road as money and volunteers run out.
Streetwatch sees groups of residents walk the streets in their area to look out for problems and report them either to police, or if not a criminal offence, try to organise ways of addressing it themselves.
It was launched in Four Marks in 2007 by village resident and Hampshire Police Chief Inspector Phil Kedge. Groups were formed in Petersfield and then it went national, but now it appears police support is being scaled back for the project.
At a meeting of the East Petersfield Community Group and Streetwatch, chairman Steve Dewey said: “Street Watch has hit a crossroads in that it needs funding in order to progress.
“All activity has had to be placed on hold, especially since the national co-ordinator stood down and Phil Kedge has been asked to step back. It could be that without funding the future of Streetwatch beyond 12 months is unlikely. As a result I have looked at how Streetwatch is going in other parts of Petersfield.
“In Cranford Road volunteers are down, with members not keen to cover the town, just their immediate area. But we are looking at options to convince the right people continuing Streetwatch is the right thing to do.
“But if it folds we have talked about forming a similar group to carry on, but for Petersfield only.”
East Hampshire district councillor Julie Butler is a fervent supporter, regularly patrolling around Rival Moor Road and Durford Road.
She has been in contact with East Hampshire MP Damien Hinds, who has offered to investigate why police policy appears to have changed.
Cllr Butler said: “It is a good time to highlight how well Streetwatch works in our area, especially as it has made great improvements and brought the community together.”
Streetwatch is the only fully regulated national model for citizen street patrols in the UK.
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Weather for Petersfield
Friday 24 May 2013
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