A team of volunteers in Bolton has graduated as community crime fighters after several months of training.
More than 90 residents volunteered to take part in the scheme, which was launched in March this year, and the list of people wishing to join up is continuously growing.
The “crime fighters” are now able to impart their knowledge on the wider community and act as advocates of the agencies involved in fighting crime and anti-social behaviour.
As a thank you for their hard work and dedication over the past few months, the participants of the scheme will be rewarded with a special lunch in the Festival Hall, Bolton Town Hall, on Wednesday, October 28.
Delivering the messages of thanks will be Superintendent Chris Hankinson, of Greater Manchester Police; John Dunn, Deputy Director of Housing Services at Bolton at Home and Tony Kenyon, Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Co-ordinator at Bolton Council.
The community crime fighters will also have the chance to meet representatives from a number of support organisations involved in the fight against crime, such as Victim Support, Mediation Services, Community Payback and Bolton Magistrates, and discuss potential volunteering opportunities.
The event, which links to Inside Justice Week, will also see the launch of a new web page as part of the Be Safe website, which will enable the community crime fighters to share information and knowledge about how to tackle issues in the area where they live.
Executive Member for Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Councillor Sufrana Bashir-Ismail, said: “The purpose of the community crime fighters scheme was to work with local residents to demystify the criminal justice system and allow those who were interested in reducing crime in their communities to work with the relevant agencies in an informed way.
The training workshops have taught the volunteers where to turn to if they are experiencing problems and how to help others in their communities get the correct response from the agencies involved.”
Community crime fighter Shama Limbada (36) said: “As a result of a firework being pushed through my letter box two years ago and my porch being burned down, I became quite close to my local Police Community Support Officers. I would now like to help other people in the community and reassure them that people can help if they are experiencing problems. The training has increased my knowledge of what happens to victims of crime and I would eventually like to volunteer for Victim Support.”
Fellow volunteer Bob Goodman (85) has been a Home Watch co-ordinator for 20 years, so becoming a community crime fighter seemed a natural choice.
He said: “The scheme has enhanced what I already know about the criminal justice system. I believe that the police are doing a good job in Bolton but they need the backing of the community. This scheme gives you an idea of how we can work with them to achieve the same goals.”