Lowestoft crime fighter is praised
- Credit: Nick Butcher
They are known as the 'eyes and ears' of the community.
Waveney's Neighbourhood Watch groups play a crucial role in fighting crime and helping keep our towns and villages safe.
And the dedication of one long-serving volunteer was hailed by police in Lowestoft this week.
After many years leading the Lowestoft Neighbourhood Watch Association, its outgoing chairman Dorothy Boggis gave her final report last week as she stood down after more than a quarter of a century.
Mrs Boggis, 85, has been a driving force behind the association which has been running since 1986 and now includes more than 160 schemes in the town, covering about 7,500 households.
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'I think we have helped with the fight against crime and it has been a real achievement,' she said. 'We have had great support from the police, and I have an awful lot of time for our PCSOs in Lowestoft.
'The association has grown over time. To think we now cater for about 7,500 households, well it is amazing.'
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Made an MBE in 1996 for her work on behalf of the community, Mrs Boggis has also been involved with a number of groups and organisations in the area including the Abbeyfield Lowestoft Society.
She praised Colin Down for his support in setting up the association, adding: 'Each of the co-ordinators work extremely hard and as it has been rolled out across the whole of Lowestoft, a lot has been achieved.'
Secretary Brian Sivyer was voted in as the association's new chairman at its annual meeting last Monday at St Marks Church in Oulton Broad. Mrs Boggis – whose grandson Mark is a reporter on The Journal – will remain its Normanhurst network co-ordinator.
In her final speech, she told fellow members: 'It has been a delight to have been your chairman all these years.'
Suffolk police's community watch liaison officer Terry Jones hailed Mrs Boggis's commitment over the years.
'Under her leadership membership has grown considerably,' he said. 'Her dedication cannot be underestimated and the reduction in crime under her watch, particularly over the past year, means she is going out on a high.
'Neighbourhood Watch is proven to be one of the most successful crime reduction initiatives and without the work of volunteers like Dorothy, it wouldn't be as strong and wouldn't be able to operate in the way it does.
'Police rely on the eyes and ears of the public and there are a lot of examples already this year of offenders being caught after vigilant neighbours have reported suspicious activity. You can't help but be motivated by individuals like Dorothy and we thank her for all her efforts and wish her all the best for the future.'
Since the UK's first Neighbourhood Watch was set up in Mollington in Cheshire in 1982, hundreds of schemes have been established across the country, and they now boast more than 10m members.
Anyone interested in setting up their own Neighbourhood Watch, or joining their local scheme, should contact the community watch liaison officer or their local Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101.