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Force Focus - an extraordinary few weeks for our volunteers

It has been an extraordinary few weeks for our volunteers.

Members of our Special Constabulary volunteered for more than 5,000 hours as part of a series of projects around this month’s Specials Weekend.

The team made 30 arrests, as well as seizing two guns and several knives as part of an operation.

Then last week we held our first ever volunteers appreciation evening, which celebrated the achievements of volunteers across the force.

Members of the Watch schemes, Special Constabulary, cadets and police support volunteers make a contribution worth more than £500,000 to the force every year.

This commitment and dedication to our communities is summed up by our Street Watch schemes, which have come into focus as part of Neighbourhood Watch Week, which runs from 17 to 23 June.

We have 15 schemes running across Bedfordshire at the moment.  The most recent of these launched earlier this month in Wigmore – the first such scheme in Luton.

In February a new scheme was also launched in Great Denham.

Since 1 April our Streetwatch volunteers have carried out more than 500 hours of patrols, been involved in more than 30 engagement opportunities and submitted lots of information to the police.

New volunteers have signed up to our existing schemes in Arlesey, Marston Moretaine, Biggleswade, Cranfield and Shefford.

These groups are doing important work. For example, the Arlesey Streetwatch group identified a fly tipping incident in the village, which has resulted in the landowner accepting responsibility for clearing the hazardous waste from its land.

The contribution of the two winners in the Watch category at our volunteer appreciation evening also demonstrates this sense of community spirit.

Amanda Cawthorn leads the Biggleswade Community Safety Group and is responsible for operating a whole range of watch schemes in Biggleswade and the surrounding area, namely Street Watch, Speed Watch, and Biggleswade Business Watch, whilst working closely in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch.

Dog Watch and a Stay Safe scheme are also being planned to launch over the coming weeks and months.

These groups have assisted us with a large number of events and operations.

This includes things like tackling anti-social behaviour, bike marking events and parades, as well as helping the fire brigade with a large fire.

They have also run their own campaigns targeting certain crime types in different areas across the town.

Our other Watch scheme award winner, John Waller, has made a similarly outstanding contribution.

He has run Caddington Watch, which encompasses Street Watch, Speed Watch and Neighbourhood Watch.

Not only has he been successful in getting the majority of homes signed up to Neighbourhood Watch and Beds Alert, he has also carried out several hundreds of hours of patrols within Streetwatch and carrying out Speedwatch activity.

Some of the most successful projects have included solving school parking in the village and collecting data to encourage the council to invest in traffic calming measures.

Mr Waller is also responsible for assisting and circulating the monthly crime reports to every watch group and all local councils across Central Bedfordshire. 

All of this work encapsulates the enormous contribution that volunteers make to Bedfordshire Police. We could not deliver all that we do as a force without their efforts.

If you are interested in volunteering with us, check out our recruitment and volunteering information.

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