Unique police office opens

A UNIQUE police facility run by volunteers in Southwater opened its doors on Monday after being renovated.

The new and improved Southwater Community Police Office was officially opened by Assistant Chief Constable Robin Merrett.

The office in Lintot Square has been moved from the first floor of Beeson House onto the ground floor to make it more accessible and provide more space.

It was set up in September 1996 by a team of volunteers in the community and it is now staffed by 22 volunteers.

They have been trained by Sussex Police to deal with incidents that range from anti-social behaviour to road traffic accidents, and also offer support to crime prevention initiatives and schemes in the village.

ACC Merrett said: “The success of the police office at Southwater is testament to the team of dedicated volunteers who set it up and have continued to ensure that it is a real asset to the community.

“This office provides a great local contact point for the people of Southwater with the police. Not only is it innovative but is also shows how policing can be delivered effectively in the heart of communities.”

The Southwater office currently deals with a wide range of duties including passing on information to the police from the public, handling lost and found property and pets, filling out crime reports, fielding queries and acting as a link between the public, local beat officers, PCSOs and Horsham Police Station.

The office also offers a security marking service for mobile phones and bikes.

In addition to the volunteers, the office is also a base for two PCSOs. Many of the volunteers have more than ten years’ service and in September 2006 the office and volunteers were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.