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‘Dogwatch’ initiative launched

POLICE ARE appealing to dog walkers to help them fight crime and anti-social behaviour by reporting anything suspicious they spot whilst out and about with their dogs.

Owners are being invited to join Ceredigion Dogwatch, which was launched in Aberystwyth by Dyfed-Powys Police last weekend. They are being encouraged to sign up for the Neighbourhood Watch-style scheme.

‘It could be as simple as a case of fly-tipping or could be as serious as drug dealing,’ said Pc Hefin Jones.

Pc Jones, an officer with Aberystwyth Rural Policing Team who has been setting the scheme up with a colleague, came up with the idea after talking to a woman out walking her dog.

She mentioned that she had read about a ‘Dogwatch’ scheme run by the Metropolitan Police. He contacted them and they sent him the packs they had distributed in one area under their scheme.
‘The aim is to provide extra eyes and ears in the Aberystwyth area to help reduce crime and fear of crime and thus improving the quality of life for everyone,’ said Pc Jones.

‘It's based on a neighbourhood watch scheme but instead of utilising people who live in a certain area, you're utilising dog walkers - the reason being they tend to be out all hours of the day and in different locations.’

He said people would not be expected to walk in areas which they were unfamiliar with, or to walk their pets late at night.

‘They will also not be expected to get involved in confrontational situations,’ he added. ‘It is simply just a case of reporting what you see when you're out walking your dog.’

The scheme will begin in the Aberystwyth area, but if it is successful police could set up other schemes, with a view to it eventually going force-wide.