A scheme started to beat violent crime on the streets of Jamaica and which was rolled out in London’s Brixton is to be introduced in Blackwood.
The town centre is to have a team of volunteer street pastors who will work alongside the police, ambulance and licensing authorities on Friday and Saturday nights to curb antisocial and disorder.
Supported by the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership, the team of 30 volunteers will begin training next month, with patrols set to begin later this year.
The pastors will offer support and guidance to people and will promote personal and community safety.
Councillor Lyn Ackerman, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “The street pastor scheme has been very effective in other areas of the country, so it is pleasing that a similar scheme is to be set up in the Caerphilly County Borough.
“I am sure that the Street Pastors will bring a calming influence to Blackwood town centre on busy Friday and Saturday nights and will complement the work of the police, council and other local agencies in reducing disorder and antisocial behaviour.”
The street pastor scheme was first started in Jamaica in 2001 as a Christian response to violent crime. Brixton followed in 2003 and became the first place in Britain to have street pastors.
They now operate in more than 60 city and town centres across the country.
Street pastor co-ordinator David Hatch said: “Street pastors have now become a familiar sight on an increasing number of our city streets across the country, and by working alongside the police and other agencies, they have seen some very dramatic improvements in the levels of street crime, antisocial behaviour and bringing greater safety to the streets in the early hours.”
Inspector Alan Webber, of Gwent Police, said: “This is an extremely worthwhile scheme and we are looking forward to the Street Pastors joining us on the streets of Blackwood.”