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Volunteers' "fantastic contribution" to keeping communities safe


Active citizens and communities with strong networks are generally safer communities, with volunteers and citizens in policing making a “fantastic contribution” towards reducing crime, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Cutland told Nottinghamshire Neighbourhood Watch’s annual conference on Saturday (March 21).

Calling for suggestions about how the role of citizens in policing could be bolstered in the future, she pointed out: “Being able to work closely with NottsWatch members increases community engagement, enables the police to be more visible, accessible and accountable and helps policing to be more responsive to the concerns that are important to local communities.”

An ardent supporter of people working in the voluntary sector, Ms Cutland is a dedicated women’s rights campaigner and the specialist lead for domestic violence-related issues in Nottinghamshire. Her fellow speakers at the conference in Cotgrave were the Commander of Nottinghamshire Police’s County Division, Mark Holland; Notts County councillor and chairman of Community Safety, Glynn Gilfoyle; and NottsWatch trustee John Wood. All four also took part in a question and answer session.

The Deputy Commissioner spoke of “so many benefits” that NottsWatch brings to communities, including “sharing information and crime prevention advice so that fewer people go through the misery and distress caused by crime.”

She also highlighted Nottinghamshire Neighbourhood Alert as “a great tool to keep citizens informed, to seek intelligence and to enable their participation. It’s reassuring to know that there is a network of ‘neighbours’ who will look out for us and for whom we will do the same.”

Commissioner Paddy Tipping, who is keen to see more volunteers help to strengthen policing, has funded a co-ordinator role and a small grant scheme for NottsWatch. Roles he is intent on expanding within Nottinghamshire Police include cadet volunteers, and Special Constables who work with neighbourhood policing teams to promote public reassurance and reduce crime.

Rural crime is another key priority for the Commissioner, Ms Cutland said. “We are developing a Rural Crime Strategy to tackle the gap in knowledge and understanding of rural crime, which is supported by a delivery plan. This includes recruiting Rural Special Constables to police rural open spaces such as agricultural land, parks and wildlife and conservation areas, and liaise with wildlife crime officers and other key agencies like DEFRA and the National Farmers’ Union.”

She concluded: “Going forward, we face the on-going challenge of doing more with less and being creative with our resources to make most effective use of them.” It was, she said, “an opportunity to tackle our priorities of reducing crime locally, tackling serious organised crime – including cyber-crime, human trafficking, slavery and sexual exploitation – and safeguarding vulnerable children and adults in a new way.”


Media Enquiries:  Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

Posted on Saturday 21st March 2015
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