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19 May 2015, 06:22 | Updated: 19 May 2015, 06:30
Postmen and women in Winchester are being asked to look out for crime and suspicious behaviour while doing their rounds.
Royal Mail say more than 130 postmen and women in the city will take part in a trial of the Mail Watch initiative, in conjunction with Neighbourhood Watch and Hampshire Constabulary.
They'll report any suspicious incidents or low-level crime by calling 101 and then quoting a dedicated incident number. Alternatively, they can report incidents to Neighbourhood Watch volunteers, who will then liaise with police if necessary.
Last year, Royal Mail joined forces with the charity Missing People to distribute ‘high risk’ alerts about vulnerable missing children and adults to its 124,000 postmen and women. Alerts are issued via handheld scanners used by postmen and women to track and sign for deliveries,
Tony Marsh, Director of Security at Royal Mail, said:
”Royal Mail postmen and women collect and deliver mail six days a week and have almost unrivalled knowledge of the communities they serve. We are proud to be formalising our working relationship with Hampshire Constabulary and Neighbourhood Watch through the launch of this important initiative, and look forward to playing our part in creating a safer community.”
Tony Crouch, a local postman with a rural round in the Winchester area, said:
"We take intelligence from the police and have a phone number to call if we see anything suspicious. Since the pilot started trialling, the team has reported crimes of stealing and trespassing. This is not about snooping since we only act on intelligence we receive from police. It's an extension of the service we already provide to the community that doesn't affect the time it takes us to do our job.
Steve Brine, MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, said:
“This just makes perfect sense and is an initiative you just know will add value. I think Royal Mail customers will be really pleased to see such a positive idea taking shape from their trusted postmen and women.”
Chief Inspector Darius Hemmatpour, District Commander for Winchester, said:
“Mail Watch is an innovative and exciting opportunity where the Police, Neighbourhood Watch and Royal Mail are working together to ensure our communities continue to feel safe, valued and supported. By sharing information across all 3 organisations it will allow postmen and women to report any suspicious activity they may come across during their daily rounds whilst at the same time receiving such information from the Police and Neighbourhood Watch.
"For many years the Police have enjoyed a great working partnership with Neighbourhood Watch so it makes perfect sense to join this up with Royal Mail where often the local postie has the ear of the community.
"By working together we can improve the flow of information across rural communities that will enhance our local intelligence picture, enabling the police to have a greater insight into local issues whilst reducing crime and targeting those who prey on the vulnerable.“
Margaret Filley, President of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Neighbourhood Watch Association, said:
“To be able to enlist and formalise the help of our local postal delivery teams, who play such an important part in our local communities, in being an extension of the Neighbourhood Watch principal of providing rapid intelligence to our Neighbourhood Policing teams will be a tremendous boost to ensuring safer communities. Working' together' we can all help reduce crime and opportunities for crime.”