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Bogus caller crackdown marks anniversary

PUBLISHED: 18:00 18 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:07 03 March 2010

GOOD neighbours in Suffolk are being asked to help crack down on bogus callers to mark the anniversary of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

It is 20 years since the Neighbourhood Watch movement began in the UK.

GOOD neighbours in Suffolk are being asked to help crack down on bogus callers to mark the anniversary of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

It is 20 years since the Neighbourhood Watch movement began in the UK.

And to mark the milestone, Neighbourhood Watch members in Suffolk are being asked to give a hand to an elderly or vulnerable person living nearby.

They will be doing their good deeds during Neighbourhood Watch week, which is running all this week.

Inspector Ian Farthing, Crime Reduction Officer for Suffolk Constabulary, said: "Neighbourhood Watch is far more than just a crime-fighting initiative. It brings together people within the community who otherwise may never meet – and promotes and encourages community spirit.

"This year, we are asking Neighbourhood Watch members countywide to help crack down on "distraction" burglary – an offence in which the perpetrators con their way into the home of an elderly person before distracting them and making off with money and property.

"Suffolk, along with other counties nation-wide, has experienced a rise in this type of offence.

"Now, Suffolk Constabulary and its partners, including Neighbourhood Watch schemes, have joined forces to stamp out this type of crime, not only by catching those responsible but by making sure people are aware of the steps they can take to thwart these offenders."

Neighbourhood Watch week is also being used to publicise the findings of a major review of the initiative across the county.

A partnership of the Suffolk Constabulary, Police Authority and Suffolk Neighbourhood Watch Association (SNWA) undertook the review with the aim of building on the current success of schemes – and making them even more effective.

Police Authority member Frances Bee, who chaired the Way Forward Group that led the review, said: "A number of important areas for improvement have been identified and will be introduced in the coming months, including communication via e-mail and a Neighbourhood Watch website, more training for Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinators and raising the profile and understanding of Neighbourhood Watch across the county.

"Neighbourhood Watch is a real partnership between the community and the police and we believe is uniquely placed to make a valuable contribution to Suffolk First – making Suffolk the safest county in the country."

An SNWA member of the group, Peter Johnson, added: "This review has done much to strengthen relationships and has brought to light a number of weaknesses and strengths. We now have a firm foundation upon which to build and also to improve our contribution to Suffolk First-making Suffolk the safest county in the country."

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