DOBCROSS residents will be the eyes and ears of the community as a new Neighbourhood Crime Watch group is launched in the village.Around 100 people gathered at Dobcross Band Club to hear about the initiative, which will be based on the successful group started by Lee Hudson in Greenfield in November 2017.
Lee explained he set up the group after a spate of car jackings and other crimes, and it has flourished to nearly 1,000 members.
Their aim is to alert others to any suspicious activity or crimes, raise awareness and promote vigilance to deter criminals and find ways to make the community safer.
They have a network of 86 resident street co-ordinators who share information with neighbours across 101 streets.
They also work closely with the police, who attend their bi-monthly meetings, as well as local businesses, Tesco and YOLO.
“Everybody is aware of the cuts the police face locally and nationally and it is about helping them through that by being an extra pair of eyes and ears,” explained Lee.
“Crime has fallen 16 per cent in the area since we launched the group so I believe we are making a difference.
“There are a lot of elderly people in the area who feel relieved they now have someone to channel any concerns to or ask questions.”
As well as reporting suspicious activity and crimes to the police, the group also runs initiatives such as putting anti-theft leaflets on cars at hot spots on Shaw Hall Bank Road and Chapel Road.
“PC Lee Cullen has been a fantastic advocate and wants to help us push this in other villages too,” added Lee.
“If we can get all the villages set up we can make a massive difference for the area.”
The first village to follow suit was Denshaw, led by Paul Gilbert, who launched a scheme in September based around a WhatsApp message group.
Paul explained: “WhatsApp works because it is real time. If you see something suspicious in the community you can message immediately and let people know. It is simple and effective.
“Lee has proved this works on a bigger scale but we are doing it on our own scale. We are a different type of community to Greenfield but we’ve found what works for us.
“All it takes is a bit of eye-watching and communication and hopefully we can make our communities safer.”
Now Dobcross are also taking up the mantle and held the meeting at the band club to drum up interest and find volunteers to form a group which will be initially mentored by Lee.
Eleven villagers stepped forward and will meet to agree how to proceed, forming an admin team and network of supporters. There will be ample opportunity for those who were unable to attend the meeting to join the scheme.
John Warham, DVC Chair, said: “We need people from all parts of the village to come together to get this off the ground.
“We heard about the success of the group in Greenfield and I am sure we can do the same.”
PC Lee Cullen welcomed the start of another group to help police reduce crime across the community.
“Policing is in a bad place as we’ve faced so many cuts and changes,” he admitted. “But if you work with us, we will see better results.
“Saddleworth is perceived to be affluent so we fall foul of a lot of acquisitive crime from criminals coming into the area.
“If you see something suspicious then tell us – we can’t do anything if you don’t. We need to build resilience across the community.”
• To report anything suspicious to police call on 101 or 0161 872 5050 or go on the live chat on the website: www.gmp.police.uk. In an emergency call 999.