PCSO Ian Phipps and Gillian Armitt as Eyam Church becomes the first to sign up to Church Watch
A scheme aimed at keeping a watch over church buildings has launched in areas of Bakewell, Hathersage and Tideswell.
Safer Neighbourhood officers in the area have been heading out on the beat to sign up local churches to the scheme to help to protect them against thieves and vandals.
The initiative sees officers working closely with local residents to help to protect community church buildings from becoming targeted by criminals. Due to the low level of lighting, and often secluded surroundings, they can be seen as an easy target.
People are being encouraged to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to their local policing team to help to stop a crime from happening.
PCSO Ian Phipps of the Tideswell Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “Church Watch is a fantastic way to deter criminals and to protect properties and buildings in a neighbourhood.
“It is a great initiative to be a part of and the more people that sign up, the more effective it will be. We would love to hear from anyone interested in joining the scheme either by phone or over email.
“We would like to encourage residents to remain vigilant and to report suspicious activity to us so that we can protect our churches from anti-social behaviour and vandalism.”
Gillian Armitt, Parish Administrator at Eyam Church, said: “‘The police and Eyam Church have always had a positive relationship and we are keen to be part of initiatives which help not only the church, but the wider community.
“In the past we have been the victims of crime and the police have been very supportive. Anything we can do to reduce the types of crime which churches attract is a positive influence in our wider community crime prevention.
“I would encourage all places of worship to join Church Watch to raise awareness locally, and to help maintain the dignity and respect we would all like in our communities.”
To find out more or to sign up to the Church Watch scheme call your local policing team on 101 and email them at Bakewell.firstname.lastname@example.org.