COMMUNITY crime-fighters have praised The News for campaigning against drink-drivers and for its wider role in helping police both finding and exposing criminals.
It comes as Local Newspaper Week is held this week under the theme of ‘making a difference’.
The crime commissioner and a roads policing sergeant have praised this newspaper’s campaign run last year against drink-driving.
A series of reports were run at the same time as Hampshire Constabulary held a crackdown on drink-drivers.
Last year Kayleigh Greest, of Gosport, backed The News campaign after her father Andrew Greest was killed by a drink-driver in 2012.
The News carried names and pictures of drink-drivers caught in the clampdown, along with reports on work of the Roads Policing Unit in Havant.
Sgt David Sanderson said: ‘While a lot of our communication now takes place directly with the public through our own social media channels, local newspapers have an important part to play in crime prevention and detection and keeping people safe. We’d like to thank them all for that.
‘Roads policing in particular relies upon in part the social conscience of the public.
‘Local newspapers have helped us to appeal to our local communities’ sense of right and wrong, when it comes to safety messages such as drink-driving and excessive speed.’
And Michael Lane, the new police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, added: ‘The News is really good encouragement for the right behaviour and the reminder for people to take the right care, or abstinence.’
And Mr Lane praised the role of The News in helping drum up witnesses in running appeals.
He added: ‘There are people who know more about what has happened.
‘They might engage with police as a result of the local newspaper.’
Several cases have been boosted by coverage in the press, with witnesses coming forward.
In other cases, victims of sexual assault have found the courage to report crimes after reading of successful prosecutions in the courts brought by police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Bob Combes, chairman of Hampshire Neighbourhood Watch Association, added: ‘The News is an essential way of getting the police message out and reminding people that the police need our support.
‘I’m very pleased that The News is always willing to support Neighbourhood Watch and promote our activities and let the general public know when we have some good things to share.’