University of Gloucestershire students helping to keep St Paul's safe
CRIMEFIGHTING students at the University of Gloucestershire have seen a 70 per cent drop in anti-social behaviour since they started patrolling the streets of St Paul's.
Around 25 students from the Criminology department of the university signed up to form the St Paul's Street Watch in January last year.
The group, which aims to help cut down on anti-social behaviour, will be celebrating their relaunch next March, and already their impact is being felt in the community.
The number of anti-social incidents being reported to the police has dropped by 70 per cent during 2012 in St Paul's and Pittville.
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Overall crime in both areas fell by almost 50 per cent from 2011 to 2012.
David Turner, undergraduate and postgraduate course leader in criminology, who set up the group, said the student response has been immense, despite funding from the national scheme collapsing.
He said: "We are working with the police, and with the residents during this project.
"There is a stigma around students and the kind of trouble they cause, but this helps them give back to their community as well.
"It was difficult to keep going without the funding, and the most expensive thing is insurance to cover the students when they are out and about."
Starting off with nearly 15 students, the group which used to only contain criminology students has since grown to include other students and residents.
Each patrol, which is held in pairs, is normally two hours, and held on weeknights.
Dr Turner added: "The project is paying dividends, and we are now looking to relaunch on March 18. Hopefully more students and residents will get involved now."
Councillor Andrew Lansley (LD, St Paul's) said: "The scheme is marvellous. It's a perfect example of the work between institutions and residents, with students in the community.
"It shows the character of our area that the students are working with residents."