One of my main tasks as the Community Safety Engager is to bring together a Community Safety Group which would involve local people working closely together with the key Services and agencies, including ; Police, Fire Service, Drugs agencies, Falkirk Council and the various local community organisations and Groups. It has been frustrating for myself that due to COVID I have been unable to make any significant progress with this. I am nevertheless grateful that a few local people have expressed an interest with getting involved and I have also received a commitment from various agencies to support the work of the Group. I have had preliminary discussions with the coordinator of Neighborhood Watch Scotland and there is the potential for our local community safety group to take on some of the functions of a Neighborhood watch whilst following the groups own priorities and development of community led safety projects. A starting point will be the agreed local community safety priorities, and although we are still a long way from confirming what these are and what actions we are going to agree to take, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at the types if issues and areas of work that the Group might support and develop.
- Find solutions to local problems, this could cover: incidences of local crime or persistent anti-social behaviour, continuing fly-tipping and environmental issues, drug misuse , vandalism, child safety issues, in fact the work of the group would very much mirror the local community safety strategy but would be able to make quick responses to changing circumstances.
- As the main Statutory services would be involved you would be able to get more direct action when it is most required and ongoing communications and dialogue. There would be greater community consultation on an array of issues from car parking, speeding motors to burglary and car theft.
- The Group could run local activities and roadshows and attend community events e.g. Mariners day, with community safety information, provide an advice stall and offer support and therefore speak directly with and listen to local people.
- Support and resource local campaigns like road safety, improving paths and cycle routes, the Tidy, Clean and Green campaign.
- Work closely with Neighbourhood Watch. Neighbourhood Watch is a community led initiative to bring local people together to address crime and other community safety issues. Neighbourhood Watch groups often liaise with the local police, the local authority, and other agencies. Neighbourhood Watches can be large, covering most of the households on an estate, or they might involve just a few houses. They may meet frequently or keep in touch via e-mail or social media. There really is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to Neighbourhood Watch. Neighbourhood Watch adapts to fit the community it serves.
- The Group may get involved with supporting new opportunities and initiatives which reduce reoffending and develop prevention strategies around addiction and substance misuse, and which are targeted at vulnerable groups and individuals.
In essence the Group would decide its own direction of travel and get involved where it was felt to be appropriate and necessary. The recent community safety survey identified that many people are afraid about their safety and are negatively affected by the fear of crime so this could be an important area for a community safety group to support and reassure residents about their safety and provide an empathetic and listening ear. I would like to highlight that I am already registered with the Neighbourhood alert system and I regularly post their warnings and information about local scams, whether they are online cons, telephone scams or doorstep rip offs. I post these onto our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/opcamelontamfourhill and on our Twitter account at @opcamelonthill these alerts are very local and are very useful for reassuring people about current scams and risks to peoples personal security, especially with the national rise in scams associated with the COVID health crises. This then would be another strand of the work of the Group as these Alerts can be very localised and have a very immediate and direct impact.
If you are interested in getting involved or would like further details about the Camelon and Tamfourhill Community Safety Group then plea get in touch with myself: John R Hosie firstname.lastname@example.org or 07391524528. Lets make our community safer, happy and a supportive place to live and work.