Community effort to make Hitchin safer and smarter

A VARIETY of agencies got together to make part of Hitchin safer and smarter.

The Old Hale Way area received a thorough spruce and tidy-up.

The effort was made under the Community Reassurance Event programme run by North Herts Community Safety Partnership.

Firefighters called on 300 houses and arranged to return to 70 to carry out full home fire safety checks. They fitted two smoke alarms on the spot for a family with small children and an elderly couple.

Police officers from Hitchin safer neighbourhood team and volunteers from the North Herts Crime Prevention Panel gave out advice to residents on how to safeguard their homes. Officers also maintained a presence on the estate until 2am.

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Staff from North Herts District Council’s (NHDC) waste management team and contractors Veolia swept roads and pathways, litter picked the area and emptied all litter bins. They collected a total of 2.53 tonnes of waste and removed 13 examples of graffiti.

NHDC’s grounds maintenance contractors, John O’Conner, cut back trees, tidied the area and inspected play areas and the multi-use games area.

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Scores of people took part in the event including offenders on the Community Payback scheme, supervised by Herts Probation Trust, special constables and fire cadets along with crews from Hitchin, Baldock and Royston fulltime crews.

Station commander Les Jones said: “From a Fire Service perspective it was a complete success making use of all North Herts’ resources, operational crews, cadets and volunteers.”

Cllr Tricia Cowley, NHDC portfolio holder for community engagement, said: “Community Reassurance Events are very good at nipping any problems in the bud and helping residents to keep their communities safe and pleasant to live in.

“It was a very successful day and it was rewarding for all the people taking part to achieve such a positive result.”

North Herts Chief Insp Neil Ballard added: “It was really excellent to have all the agencies working together in partnership with the community to keep Hitchin a safe and pleasant place to live, work and visit.”

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