More than 500 volunteer to become crime-spotting dog-walkers
CRIME-SPOTTING dog walkers are helping police officers sniff out crimes and make arrests in Gloucester.
Several arrests have been made after more than 500 dog walkers, who are members of the Paws on Patrol scheme, were encouraged to call the police when they witness crimes in progress.
The vigilant dog walkers are also being enlisted to report anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and abandoned cars.
Community safety officer Pat Dabbs, from Gloucester City Council, said: "Paws on Patrol has really caught the imagination of a lot of people who get a real sense of community spirit from being involved.
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"We set ourselves a target of finding 500 members by March but we've already achieved 503 and the project only started in May. Everyone wants to get on board."
In June, a 25-year-old man was arrested when a dog walker foiled an attempted break-in at a jewellers in Northgate Street and in July, two people were arrested after a serious assault in the Moreland area. The scheme has been lauded as a good way of getting ordinary people and their dogs to be the eyes, ears and noses of the city.
Chief Inspector Richard Burge said: "Paws on Patrol has proved very successful. We have made arrests as a result of patrollers' vigilance and issues of anti-social behaviour have been reported to the council and to the local policing teams for investigation."
The scheme works in two ways – dog walkers call in with issues they find while community safety officials contact them requesting their help with specific appeals, such as the current crackdown on the illegal use of mini-motos.
Organisers have launched a new incentive in the hope of attracting more dog walkers to the scheme.
Brockworth Puppy and Dog Training School is offering new recruits in September the opportunity to win a six-week puppy training course at the school.
For more details, call Safer Gloucester on 01452 396984, visit www.safergloucester.co.uk or visit their stall at the GL4 Together fun day at Glevum Open Space, Abbeydale, on Sunday from 1pm.