Volunteers keep a watch

Murray Glensor and Neil Bridgland, right are part of the Volunteer Community Patrol.

It’s easy to feel that you and your family are living your busy lives in isolation.

However, in Cambridge we are very lucky to be supported by many unseen community organisations.

One of these is our very valuable Volunteer Community Patrol.

The Community Patrol drives our streets and roads five nights each week and has been active since May 2017. All patrollers are volunteers.

The patrol works alongside our local police, who communicate with one another to extend the ability to observe our streets. On a typical night, patrollers might secure business premises unintentionally left open, observe and report suspicious people and vehicles or find support for vulnerable people out at night.

There have been occasions when the patrol has joined the search for elderly or young people lost or stranded in town or in our rural areas; at one time managing to locate an elderly man who was disorientated and wandering in a rural area.

His family were most grateful to have him delivered home safely. On another occasion they found a young girl who was alone on a wet, cold night after a fight at home. They were able to deliver her to the police who collected her and found her a bed for the night.

Several times, the patrol has encountered a vehicle suspiciously parked in a secluded area or outside a popular retail outlet at night. When the vehicle sees the patrol, they immediately leave the area. This leaves the impression that the patrol may be preventing several break-ins and possible other illegal activity.

Further to this, the patrol has often been able to identify stolen vehicles and offenders and to alert the police. This has resulted in several arrests.

Recently the patrol has begun to trial a daytime on-foot circuit in an effort to make our retail area safer and to discourage shoplifting.

Since the patrol has been operating, they have encouraged commercial premises to increase their security and have found that break-ins have ceased at some premises that used to be burgled frequently.

Our community patrol is fully funded by donations. They receive support from C & R Developments in Cambridge who provide the fuel which enables the patrol to operate.

At present the patrol is seeking to provide some winter jackets and beanies to keep their volunteers warm whilst on patrol. They are also always seeking mature volunteers.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to the Patrol, please contact Neil Bridgland at [email protected]

  • Eileen Hawkins is Community engagement lead for Neighbourhood Support Cambridge.

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