A scheme to link police, traders and pub landlords in Burnham-On-Sea, Highbridge and Brean is going from strength to strength after winning a grant this week from the Safer Sedgemoor Partnership.

Burnham Radiolink was set up in April 2000 in a bid to reduce, prevent and detect crime and disorder in and around the Burnham-On-Sea Town Centre. All the users within the scheme, which includes pubs, traders and the police, are linked to Sedgemoor Districts Council’s CCTV control room in Bridgwater (pictured) so that offenders can be tracked and radio users are able to assist police in taking appropriate action.

After the initial success, Radiolink was expanded to holiday sites and schools all over the Burnham, Highbridge and Brean area and it also includes Pubwatch members.

Now Radio Comms Ltd, the company that maintains the Radiolink network, and the Safer Sedgemoor Partnership have helped finance an additional seven new handheld terminals for officers to carry whilst on patrol. Radio Comms Ltd have also sponsored a vehicle-based unit for Burnham-On-Sea’s Neighbourhood Policing vehicle.

Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Stuart Nichols (pictured) said: “We now have approximately 100 members of Radiolink and the scheme is a fine example of businesses and the public working in partnership with the police to reduce crime and disorder in our community.”

“Every member of the scheme should be proud that they have all contributed to making Burnham, Highbridge and Brean a safer place to live, work and visit.”

He added: “The improved communication between the CCTV control room, businesses and police has seen a number of arrests, as well officers being able to prevent potential disorder incidents within the town.”

“The CCTV coverage within the town is excellent, and has benefited from a recent upgrade which saw the installation of a police airwave terminal within the CCTV control room. This means that the CCTV staff have the ability to monitor both Radiolink and the police communications and use the camera system to gather evidence prior to police arrival.”

And new staff coming to the Burnham-On-Sea police sector are also seeing the plus points of Radiolink.

PCSO Pauline Dixon is at the forefront of a new drive to recruit support officers across the force.

A massive drive to recruit nearly 400 PCSOs to work alongside police officers throughout the force is currently underway. The new officers will support police officers, carrying out foot patrols and working with communities to tackle local problems.

The PCSOs are being recruited in preparation for the force’s roll-out of ‘Safer, Stronger Neighbourhoods’, a new approach to reducing crime and the fear of crime, which will be launched across the country by March 2008.

PCSO Dixon said: “I am a new PCSO within the Burnham sector, and have experienced the benefits of the Radiolink scheme. The improved communication has seen a number of arrests, as well officers being able to prevent potential disorder incidents within the town.”

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