VOLUNTEER cops are being deployed in a bid to stop youth crime.

Sergeant Martin Midgley and PC Dave Render, of Accrington police, revealed how Special Constables are tackling the issue of anti-social behaviour in the town.

By bringing in the volunteers, who receive police training, to patrol hotspots of anti-social behaviour, Sgt Midgley and PC Render hope to cut youth crime rates and help residents feel safer.

The new team goes to areas in Accrington noted for anti-social behaviour and patrols take place to help ensure safety.

PC Render said: “There has been a positive response, as people are happy to see them out there, engaging with the community and making people feel safe.

“In the last 12 months, there was a 34% decrease in crime ASB (anti-social behaviour).”

Speaking about going out in Barnoldswick to deal with reports of crime, Sgt Midgley, said: “Last Friday there were reports of ASB around two schools.

“We deployed a team into the area, which gave the public reassurance and one of the key things is high visibility in these areas.”

PC Render spoke about the services deployed in Accrington, He said that the bus station and the local supermarket had quite a number of ASB incidences.

He added: “With the help of the patrols we managed to flood the area, and on that evening we had hardly any reports of ASB, which is absolutely fantastic for residents, because they’re the ones it impacts mostly.”

Speaking about how valuable the new team is, Sgt Midgley said: “We have 295 officers across the county. We need to utilise them correctly, putting them into the right areas where we have significant issues.”

“This will have a massive impact on supporting our front line, by reducing the demand on our regular colleagues, that leaves them to focus on serious organised crime.”

Alongside the new Special Constables, the team is focussing on a new model of enrolment within the force, as they look to recruit people already in careers to give back to their community.

Sgt Midgley said: “Although we are still open to young people, there is more emphasis on building career Specials, such as older people, to volunteer.

“Our oldest volunteer is almost 70. We want to promote people with careers and some time to spare to give back to their community, which gives us people with life-experience.”