Category Archives: Citizens Patrol
WCP and the Wisbech Christmas Market
Sometimes We Are There
We had a great Citizens’ Patrol tonight. We were slightly light on numbers but we still fielded two teams and covered a fair bit of ground.
One of the things I find rewarding is the way the people out and about on their nights out hail us and say “hello” as we pass. It’s great because we are around often enough to have become something people notice and recognise and also because its mostly pretty warm and friendly recognition we get.
I think this proves both that WCP is well embedded now and also that our non-confrontation and friendly approach works.
The best result of tonight was Samantha Hoy who found a purse in the middle of the street on St. Peters Road. it looked like somebody had dropped it as they got out of their car and so we were fairly sure it must have come from the house the car was parked outside of.
The people in the house saw our torches and came out to see what was going on. We verified that the lady was the purses’ owner by checking the ID from one of the cards in the purse and safely returned it to her – with its valuable contents all safe and sound.
Sometimes we are there when something might happen and because we are there it does not happen. Sometimes we are there when somebody needs a little help. And sometimes we just find lost and valuable things. It’s all good! :)
Thank you to the volunteers who came out tonight. You were great.
Big Night for Citizens’ Patrol
Tonight Wisbech Citizens’ Patrol were joined by the Police & Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite.
Jason came out with volunteers for our entire walk from 11PM until nearly 1AM, around the hotspots and key locations in Wisbech.
It was a quiet night, as usual, but it gave the PCC a good chance to see how we work, what we do and what our Town is really like, for anybody who looks past the lurid and false headlines.
Many thanks to all volunteers and to our PCC.
All photography by Neil Halliday
WCP – Brief Update 2/9/16
Two more Wisbech Citizens’ patrol walks over the last couple of days.
We were out late last night with two teams. It was very very quiet, even for Wisbech. A nice evening though so we enjoyed the walk, but saw few people anywhere. Norfolk Street, the Park, the Port, the Memorial Garden, Tillery Fields, Church Gardens – all deserted. We picked up a lot of litter though, so the time wasn’t wasted.
Today we were out again for a lunchtime walk. Town was quite busy, lots of people going about their business. Teams covered all the usual areas and also some roads and areas we’d been asked to look at by the public. We saw a young man doing some amazing parkour. We also thought the the FDC contractors working on the town flower displays were doing amazing work. The gardens look beautiful at the moment. Picking litter, resolving minor issues, but nothing major to report.
Thank you, as ever, to the volunteers.
Stall At The Rock Festival
Wisbech Citizens Patrol have a STALL, all day at the Wisbech Rock Festival.
Please come and support us, try your hand at our fun dice game, get a free sticker, eat a cupcake, win a prize – and help us raise a few bob for equipment, batteries and the like!
Teams of WCP will also be patrolling the event throughout, assisting stewards and security to help keep people safe and happy.
See you there!
Caught In The Storm
Wisbech Citizens Patrol were caught in the sudden thunderstorm today. Given the heat, it was something of a relief. :)
Wisbech Citizens’ Patrol Membership Drive
WCP is a community-run voluntary scheme which seeks to provide positive, supportive, non-confrontational and friendly patrols of our local neighbourhood to help people and make everybody feel safer.
The WCP Facebook Group is here https://www.facebook.com/wisbechcitizenspatrol
The WCP Guidelines and constitution are here
WCP presently has 36 volunteers, of which about 18 are “regular” and the others “occasional” in regards to going out on walks.
The group go out 3-4 times a week at all different times; Lunchtime, Teatime, Nighttime. If you are a volunteer there is no obligation to go on any walks, you just look at the schedule each week and let the organisers know which (if any) you would like to take part in.
WCP is supported by the local Police and Council and is insured. Volunteers are vetted by the Police and all new volunteers are always put with experienced walkers.
The scheme is entirely non-confrontational. WCP are not Police, don’t try to be Police and don’t claim to be Police. They are just local people trying to do nice things for other local people.
We would love to expand our operations further, do more walks, put out more patrols. For that we need more volunteers!
If you would like to volunteer please contact our Membership Officer Angie Winsor or myself. If you’d just like to come out on a trial walk to see if you enjoy it, let us know! If you’d like more information or want to ask any questions feel free!
WCP is fun, it provides some gentle exercise, it’s a great way to meet new people and it is something almost anybody can do to help their local community. Come and join us!
This blog written by Neil Halliday about Wisbech Citizens’ Patrol is well worth a read.
Hatefest Hit Parade
Over on “Wisbech Political Scene Warts n’ All” Facebook Forum, well-known UKIP rabble rouser Sharon Horn has suggested that Wisbech Citizens’ Patrol “only patrols when it is safe” and not at night.
She is talking nonsense. But given how many selfless, decent and hard-working volunteers are involved with Citizens’ Patrol I feel I need to respond to her false comments.
So, in regards to night patrols, we are out every week, sometimes twice a week, in the evenings. They make up between 35% anf 50% of our patrols. When we first began it was mostly evenings, but we have started doing Lunchtime and Teatime patrols as well. The reason for this is that most nights, Wisbech is like a ghost town. Four full teams, walking completely different routes, covering many miles and all areas of town, often don’t encounter more than a dozen people throughout. This is between 11PM and 2AM on the “busiest” nights of the week – Friday and Saturday.
We almost always do either Friday or Saturday night. We walk not only all the key areas; Norfolk Street, Market Place, St Peters, Memorial Gardens, Tillery Field, The Port, Wisbech Town Park, but also every road that a member of the public asks us to walk as well, wherever possible.
It is not uncommon on a Friday or Saturday night in Norfolk Street, or the Market Place, or the Park, for us to be the ONLY people there.
We do occasionally find street drinkers or some sort of antisocial behaviour, which we attempt (and usually manage) to peacefully resolve. But we just don’t encounter very much. And less and less each week, since we began, which we take as a positive sign. ANY member of Citizens’ Patrol will confirm this as they have all seen it first-hand for several months now.
So we started doing some earlier times just in order to encounter some real people. Teatime has proved quite good – you are more likely to run across an issue, a street drinker, or somebody that needs help between 6PM and 8PM, than the often deserted streets of later nights.
Sharon Horn also wonders why we do the big events. We do them, Sharon, because the organisers have asked us to, and we try to go and support where people ask us to come and support. That’s the same reason why we added Elizabeth Terrace to our patrols, and parts of Waterlees, and the Rugby Fields. If you bother to check the weeks when big events have been on you would see that we have done them AS WELL AS all of our normal patrols, not INSTEAD OF. We added them as an extra, because they asked if we would help.
Wisbech Citizens’ Patrol is making a real difference to our town. People recognise us, some expect to see us and welcome us when they do. Behaviour is beginning to change because of our presence and in a positive way. The Police support us and use our resources to assist in their work. And we are never too busy to help people who are just going about their business; from carrying bags, to giving directions, to waiting with them until a taxi comes so they have some company.
WCP now boasts over 30 regular volunteers, with 15 or so VERY regular. All giving many hours every month to the simple task of helping others and trying to make our town feel safer and more neighbourly. We don’t catch burglars or give out parking tickets and we don’t want to. Our job is reassurance, support and friendliness. The volunteers who give their time, any one of them, is worth one hundred gobby rabble rousers whose contribution to Wisbech is to say nasty negative things on a tiny little private forum.
None of this is anything to do with me. I just had an idea. It has grown way beyond my idea and all this hard work and good work is down to the scores of volunteers who give up their time and energy. They are local heroes, as far as I’m concerned. I hope other people agree.
At some point, Cllr Virginia Bucknor joined the conversation with her predictable curled lip remarks. She was put out that somebody had said Citizens’ Patrol had been at more Town Events this year than she had (a remark which I’m pretty confident is true. Citizens’ Patrol have been at almost all of them since they were formed. I’ve seen her at one event this year. But who knows, maybe she was at them and hidden in the shadows? My eyesight isn’t what it was when I was twenty, for sure.) She made the following comment:
Now, putting aside that she seems to think a 3-hour meeting is “unusual” (it isn’t, almost all Councillors have them regularly) I think that this comment actually says rather a lot more than she might have intended. She is “disappointed” that somebody she says she nominated for an award has “liked” the comment made by somebody else about her alleged poor showing at town events. So take note, volunteers. If you think somebody might recommend you for an award for your hard work, don’t think the hard work and dedication alone will be enough. Be sure to butter them up and only say nice things about them. Otherwise, well you know … consequences.