Residents battling crime for 20 years mark anniversary

Chief inspector Beth Pirie, chief constable Andy Marsh, Hampshire NWA president Margaret Filley, police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes, and assistant chief constable Sara Glen
Chief inspector Beth Pirie, chief constable Andy Marsh, Hampshire NWA president Margaret Filley, police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes, and assistant chief constable Sara Glen

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FOR 20 years police and residents have been working together to tackle crime.

The county’s Neighbourhood Watch Association is marking the anniversary of its formation in Hampshire.

Hampshire Constabulary’s chief constable Andy Marsh, assistant chief constable Sara Glen and the police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes met Margaret Filley, association president.

Mr Hayes said the force is reliant on neighbourhood watch schemes.

He said: ‘I’d like to thank the Neighbourhood Watch Association for its valuable contribution to safety in our communities across the country, and I look forward to continuing our partnership across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

‘As policing budgets are being cut, we rely on neighbourhood watches to help in the detection and prevention of crime.’

Further cuts to the police budget are expected to be announced today by the chancellor George Osborne.

The Neighbourhood Watch Association was set up 20 years ago to formally organise the huge number of schemes running across the county. There were already many in operation.

It meant Hampshire Constabulary had a county-wide organisation to work with residents and individual schemes.

There are now more than 10,000 watches in the county.

Some members help police detect crime by being neighbourhood watch co-ordinators for the roads they live on, while others volunteer at police stations to help organise the scheme network.

Bob Combes, secretary of the association and former chairman of the Gosport branch, said: ‘Co-ordinators from all over the county met at police headquarters in Netley to mark this anniversary. For the future, neighbourhood watch is trying to move from the simple crime reduction agenda to focus on being good neighbours and help build caring communities.’

Margaret Filley has been president of the association for 15 years, having been its chairman previously.

She was involved in setting up the organisation and said: ‘It’s just been such a privilege both to support Hampshire Constabulary and to work with the most wonderful people who, like myself, are absolutely determined to beat crime and help our communities to flourish.’

She added the importance of the Neighbourhood Watch Association had taken on a more pivotal role in the wake of sweeping police cuts.

For more, see facebook.com/HampshireNeighbourhoodWatch