volunteers are needed to create more Neighbourhood Watch schemes in an area of York to help police tackle crime.

Police and community support officers in Westfield ward, which covers Acomb and Chapelfields, said there are currently 61 Neighbourhood Watch schemes in the area, but want to double that number by the end of the year.

Parts of the ward – including Kingsway West and Windsor Garth – are among the most deprived ten per cent hotspots in the country.

PC Jonathan Norris, of the Westfield Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the idea of Neighbourhood Watch was to cut crime and the opportunities for crime and antisocial behaviour.

He said the schemes also provided reassurance to residents, reducing the fear of crime and antisocial behaviour.

He said: “Neighbourhood Watch Schemes are our direct link to the community. They are our eyes and ears and we hope to involve them on the front line with regards to crime prevention.”

He said parts of the ward had been without a Neighbourhood Watch scheme for several years and appealed for the help of local residents in a bid to put criminals in crime-ridden areas under the spotlight.

PC Norris said: “We have recently established where we have gaps on our ward, where there are no Neighbourhood Watch schemes up and running and we have consequently devised a hit list of where these gaps are and aim to fill them as soon as possible. We plan to improve our contact with current schemes and new schemes.”

He said once introduced, North Yorkshire Police would constantly support the scheme by providing regular help and guidance, as well as routine crime figures to Neighbourhood Watch members.

Local PCSO Richard Dalby said: “Neighbourhood Watch provides a very successful method for developing close liaisons between households in the neighbourhood, the local police and the authority by sharing information.” The Westfield Safer Neighbourhood Team will be holding a meeting with current Neighbourhood Watch coordinators at Acomb Library on Monday, February 23, from 7pm, to discuss how to improve the schemes.

If you are interested in becoming a coordinator you are welcome to attend or email yorknpt@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk