Ashington’s Neighbourhood Policing Team now have bicycles to target criminals in the town.

The new bicycles have been bought by Ashington Town Council to help local Police respond more quickly than on foot and target areas that are difficult to access by a motor vehicle.

Ashington’s Neighbourhood Inspector Kevin Waring, said ‘We welcome the support from the Town Council in purchasing the new bicycles which will enhance the range of our foot patrols and make officers more accessible to residents. There are places in Ashington that are difficult to access with a vehicle and the bicycles will give us greater flexibility and a more rapid response to criminal activity in the town. The bicycles will also provide opportunities for officers to promote road safety and bike security to residents’.

The support from Ashington Town Council is in response to the Life in Ashington 2018 Residents’ Survey. Findings from the Survey found that 84% of residents feel safe during the day but there was still work to be done in improving feelings of safety after dark particularly in the Hirst, Central and College Wards.

In addition to the purchase of the new bicycles Ashington has also recently launched its very own Mini Police Force, based at the James Knott Campus. Pupils have volunteered to become mini police officers and will be working with Ashington’s Neighbourhood Policing Team during the current academic year.  One of the first tasks for the Mini Force was supporting local officers at Ashington's Remembrance Day Service & Parade last weekend.

In developing the Scheme Inspector Waring adds ‘The scheme is aimed at children in year five (aged 9-10) and focuses on the contribution the young people can make in their community to make it a better place’. The project, at the Campus, has also received an award from the Town Council to support the purchase of uniforms.  Amanda Hall, from the James Knott Campus, said ‘The children had to apply for the posts and agree to volunteer on weekends. The project is not based on academic ability but rather on children who will enthusiastically join in with the activities and we fully welcome Ashington Town Council’s support’.

Cllr. Lynne Grimshaw, Chair of the Town Council’s Finance & General Services Committee, which made the awards, adds ‘Following the Residents’ Survey the Town Council made the commitment to act upon what was said as we work to make Ashington a better place. There were obvious concerns raised within the Survey regarding safety particularly after dark.  We works closely with Ashington’s Neighbourhood Policing Team who informed the Town Council that bicycles would give them greater flexibility and allow them to address some of the issues raised in the Survey'.

The Civic Head of Ashington, Cllr. Marjorie Chambers, went along to the launch of the Mini Police, and adds ‘It’s great to see the children engaging in such a positive way with local Police. The Town Council is delighted to support the project and we do hope this will lead to greater respect for the Police as they work to make Ashington a safer place both at the present time and into the future’.

In the photograph are Inspector Kevin Waring and PC Kath Smith of Northumbria Police and Cllrs. Marjorie Chambers (Civic Head), Lynne Grimshaw and Matthew Cuthbert with the new bicycles.