After seeing crime increase across Woldingham, resident Mat Jeary was concerned:
“There were two problems: one, people weren’t reporting all the incidents that were occurring, so police didn’t think their regular presence here was necessary, and two, if something was reported, a crime number would be given but nothing else really happened. I decided to take action.”
Mat, along with friend Mike Hurst, formed the Keeping Woldingham Safe (KWS) group in September.
“Our first goal was to hold a public meeting with the police, which Councillor Becky Rush organised on 25 October. Around 50 residents attended, along with representatives from the police, local organsations and the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner.”
Actions arising from this included the formation of a Police Working Group, and a monthly police surgery for Woldingham residents, beginning on 2 December at The Glebe. There are now also regular police visits to the village.
KWS has a WhatsApp group with over 200 members, so residents can quickly log suspicious activity. Mat said:
“People should always phone the police first, but our WhatsApp group can instantly respond to anything that’s happening. We’ve only been established for two months, but we’re already making a positive impact. The police are attending incidents we alert them to, and residents have told us they feel less vulnerable, knowing there is immediate support available.“
Recognising that not everybody is on social media, KWS, with a now five-strong admin team, is also looking to work with Neighbourhood Watch.
If you live in Woldingham, you can join the Keeping Woldingham Safe group on Facebook.