But police who opposed the scheme in Sedgefield, Co Durham, said the figure of 900 fewer crimes so far this year was because of their increased foot patrols. Up to 60 other local authorities are said to considering running similar schemes to Sedgefield, which has a force of 11 uniformed patrolmen.
George Wilde, the council's secretary, emphasised: 'We, of course, don't take credit for the crime reduction totally, but we believe our scheme is making a contribution.'
Superintendent Paul West, the local police commander, acknowledged council patrols must have helped cut crimes from 4,450 in the first nine months of 1993 to 3,550 so far this year.
But council patrol manpower was thinly stretched and the main reason had to be increased police activity. Last year police foot patrols were increased by 18 per cent and this year they were 20 per cent higher still.Reuse content