An attempt by police to deal with rural complaints
more quickly is being pioneered by Wymondham Parish Council.
The idea of Parish Watch is for parish officials to become focal points in
the community and work more closely with organisations such as Neighbourhood
Watch and the police, so problems can be tackled at on-the-spot meetings.
Insp Rob Hunt, head of Melton police, said Parish Watch would mean the
public knew where to go in cases where it has not always been clear in the
past, such as pollution and poor street lighting.
He said: "It is a new concept to improve communication and safety
matters in the borough. It provides the opportunity to actually solve
problems there and then."
Mr Hunt added: "It is a project I have wanted to get going from day
one. They (parish councillors) see it as a way of cutting quite a lot of the
bureaucracy, and actually increasing police visibility."
He said it would be up to each parish to see how they organise themselves,
but said it was likely that those people who are already active in the
community would be the people who take the lead.
If Parish Watch works in Wymondham it could follow throughout the borough
and would have the added advantage of using the newly-formed Countryside
Watch's Ringmaster system, which lets police send phone messages to parish
councillors about criminal activity to look out for.
Parish councillor Lorraine Watkins said: "It's a good idea to put
things on an official footing, and it is a good idea for Wymondham to get
involved so that there is better security."
She said the parish council hoped to sign up to the scheme as soon as