BEAT bobbies are to stage appointment-based surgeries in a bid to prevent problems being lost through a call-centre system.

The idea will be piloted throughout June in Mill Hill, Feniscowles and Galligreaves - areas of Blackburn where the police have the most complaints about juvenile nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

Sergeant Paul Goodall, in charge of the eight community beat managers for Blackburn, said the scheme would be rolled out across town if the initial surgeries were well attended.

He is arranging for a representative from Blackburn with Darwen Council and the youth service to be present so residents receive comprehensive advice.

Beat bobbies returned to Blackburn in January after a six-year absence with the objective of reassuring the public and solving long-term nuisance problems.

The surgeries are seen as an effective way of helping them get to know the residents and become part of their patch.

Sgt Goodall said: "At the moment people ring up the call centre and say, for instance, they are having a problem with teenagers hanging around on their street corner.

"It might not seem like a big problem, but if you are that resident, it is the worst thing in the world.

"The control staff may not be able to send someone at that time and will advise them to contact their community beat manager. People might not bother contacting us.

"I am looking for these surgeries to give people 20 minutes to get it off their chest. I am not saying we will have the answer, but we can start to solve the problems and it gives us more time with people.

"I want a commitment from them to us: if they book an appointment and don't turn up, we will wonder how serious their problem is.

"Also people can come forward with any information about criminal activity which they want us to investigate."

According to Sgt Goodall, the only other appointment-based police surgeries by beat bobbies are in Blackpool, although they do not have the multi-agency approach.

The Blackburn surgery times and venues have not yet been finalised. However, on June 2, one will be staged in the Infirmary and Mill Hill areas, on June 12 in Feniscowles and Galligreaves, on June 20 in Infirmary and on June 21 in Mill Hill.