RESIDENTS have joined forces with Coventry City Council and Coventry Police to launch the first ever Park Watch scheme in the city.
Covering the War Memorial and Spencer parks, the scheme sees residents patrol the parks along with a police community support officer (PCSO) or Coventry City Council park worker.
They help to be the ‘eyes and ears’ who monitor and provide intelligence by reporting any issues and provide a visual presence to reassure the estimated 400,000 people who use the parks every year.
The scheme was launched in response to community concerns over various issues in the two parks ranging from anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and environmental issues.
It will run for an initial three-month period and if successful could be rolled out to other parks around the city.
The Park Watch scheme runs at weekends and each volunteer works with a PCSO or a member of Coventry City Council park staff for an hour shift.
Sergeant Tim Roberts, from the South Sector neighbourhood policing team said the scheme sees them work closely with community volunteers and local Neighbourhood Watch groups on the project.
“Park Watch is about working together to solve local community problems through a joined up partnership approach,” he said.
“The community volunteers go out on patrol initially with PCSOs and park assistants and will wear high visibility jackets.
“Initially this scheme is only for War Memorial and Spencer parks but if there is sufficient take up by the community it has the potential to be extended to other parks in the city where people believe it is needed.”
Father and daughter Peter Aslan and Emma Lapworth have both volunteered to take part in the Park Watch scheme.
Peter, aged 51, ofBenedictine Road, Cheylesmore, said: “I use the park regularly and I think the scheme is a good idea as we can provide a visual presence for people while carrying out a number of roles ranging from litter-picking to reporting problems.
Emma, aged 21, added: “I have a four-year-old son and the reason why I volunteered is because it is a way to help make the environment safer for him.”
For more information about the Park Watch scheme or to volunteer to take part, contact Coventry Police’s Community Partnerships Officer on 0345 113 5000.