Students and residents took to the streets of St Paul’s last night to mark the official re-launch of Streetwatch, a unique initiative that has seen crime in the area slashed.

The St Paul’s Streetwatch was launched in January 2012 as part of a national initiative to tackle anti-social behaviour, but after losing government funding, got back underway last night as a local resident and student led programme with financial backing from the University of Gloucestershire and support from the local policing team.

Since the launch of Streetwatch, anti-social behaviour has dropped by 70% and from 2011 to 2012 overall crime rates in St Paul’s and Pittville saw a 48.5% reduction. Dave Turner, course leader in criminology at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “It is fantastic that the students of the University and the residents of St Paul’s are united in ensuring the local Streetwatch partnership continues apace into 2013. The national programme may have collapsed but the effort and enthusiasm of the students and residents along with the support provided by the local police demonstrates that all are committed to ensuring a vibrant and safer community in St Pauls is achieved.”

Among those patrolling was Criminology student Amber Wallis. She said: “The last twelve months have been a huge success and we plan to keep going with patrols each Monday and Wednesday evening (9-11pm). Many of the member volunteers are students and it’s fantastic that so many of them are taking an interest in the place where they live and go to University, making it a better community for us all.”

Streetwatch’s Resident Coordinator, Michael Willoughby, said: “Our Streetwatch differs from others around the country because our community is composed of settled residents, students and other transient residents. Wherever possible we have mixed patrols of residents and students so that we always have someone within our group that can exert effective peer-to-peer communication. We hope that tonight’s re-launch will encourage more residents to get on board so that we can continue to work in this way with our dedicated student members.”

Members of Streetwatch are also supported by the local policing team of St Paul’s and are sometimes accompanied by Specials and PCSO’s. Sergeant Mark Stephens said: “We continue to see a decrease in crime in the area and this is due, in no small part, to the fantastic support we’ve had from the community and the University. It just goes to show that working together really can make a big difference and help make significant changes to a neighbourhood.”

For further information or if you would like to volunteer please email: [email protected]

About the University of Gloucestershire

The University of Gloucestershire gained official university status in 2001 but has existed as an educational establishment for nearly 200 years. Our heritage lies in the Mechanics Institutes of the 1830s, with our Francis Close Hall campus founded in 1847 as the Cheltenham Training College.

Today, we have three thriving campuses, Francis Close Hall and The Park in Cheltenham, and Oxstalls in Gloucester, which are occupied by approximately 10,000 students. In 2010, the University invested £5 million in teaching facilities including a new, state-of-the-art media and art and design studios.

The University of Gloucestershire delivers approximately 100 undergraduate course choices including accounting, law, business and management, fine art, TV production, humanities, leisure and tourism, social work and education plus and a diverse range of postgraduate and research degrees, and professional courses.

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Source: University of Gloucestershire