Working together to create a safer town

Chief Inspector Neil Waring of Beds Police at the Luton neighbourhood Watch AGM
Chief Inspector Neil Waring of Beds Police at the Luton neighbourhood Watch AGM

Luton Neighbourhood Watch held its Annual General Meeting with its members on Tuesday, September 29.

They have been working in partnership with Bedfordshire Police, Beds Fire and Rescue and the council to make Luton a safer town.

Deborah Hopkins, steering group member of the Neighbourhood Watch, said: “We have done a lot of recruiting this year, both online and in the community.

“We have been to The Mall, the Town Hall, community festivals and canvassing around town, it is important for us to show the community what the neighbourhood watch does.”

The steering group works with the police to communicate with the public and relay messages.

John Fullerton, steering group member, said: “We have done different presentations with Beds Police about cyber crime and how to prevent it and help those who may be vulnerable to it.

“We did a presentation with the youth offending service, they created a hard hitting film about gun and knife crime and the consequences of it.”

Council leader Hazel Simmons thanked the group and volunteers for all their hard work and spoke about the council’s investment framework for the town from 2015 to 2035.

She said: “This framework gives a strong signal of the commitment of the town to our business community and construction industries.

“We want to work with the community on the journey and as the project develops you will learn much more about it.

“We have always been ambitious for Luton and we believe in its future and the use of all our assets to provide decent jobs and a decent life for our young people. This investment framework is vital to Luton’s future.”

Chief Inspector Neil Waring, of Bedfordshire Police, said: “There is a very good relationship, here in Luton, between the council and its partners, a programme called soLUTiONs Community Safety Partnership.

“All the anti social behaviour that occurs in Luton gets channelled through that team, they look at it, evaluate it, risk assess it and grade it. They see if it is a repeat offender and where the issues lie and try to solve the problems.

“The force is working smarter and trying to save money, we are trying to listen to the public and find out what you need.

“We have closed down some of the smaller stations but that will not affect the number of officers in the area, it is not about cutting officers, it is about putting people where they are needed.

“We are trying to reinvest people back into community policing, putting people back on the front line, on to the streets.”

He also spoke about how neighbourhood watch’s communication and relationship with the public has helped the police force and gives them new ideas about how to make Luton a safer place.