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Parish Policing Project
Melton Times, September 27, 2001

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 possible.

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