Founder of Dog Watch moves on to pathways new

THE man who brought Dog Watch to Hampstead and encouraged Royal Free staff to work on the wards as special constables is leaving his job

Matt Eley

THE man who brought Dog Watch to Hampstead and encouraged Royal Free staff to work on the wards as special constables is leaving his job.

Inspector Clive French introduced a range of novel ideas in his approach to tackling crime in NW3.

But after three years looking after policing in the area he is heading off to lead Camden Police's youth and schools department.

He said: "I would say I am going to miss it but a lot of my team will be based up here so I should be around to keep an eye on the place."

For the time being, Belsize Safer Neighbourhoods Sergeant Jason Moseley will run the north sector team before a new inspector arrives later in the year.

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Overseeing the introduction of the Safer Neighbourhoods police in the area is one of Insp French's proudest achievements.

He said: "That went very well here and the way we have done things is being followed by other teams.

"We also made really good links with the Heath Constabulary, which had not really been done before and they have their own Safer Neighbourhoods style team."

Two years ago Insp French came up with the Dog Watch scheme to get people from Hampstead to help out with policing.

The idea to equip walkers with whistles, torches and flashing dog collars was initially laughed at in some quarters but dozens of similar groups have since been set up across the UK.

And Insp French, who has been a police officer for 21 years, said the scheme was never about walkers catching criminals.

The 43-year-old said: "Dog Watch has gone really well. At first everyone got the wrong idea about it.

"But it is just about community involvement and looking at issues such as littering, environment and traffic.

"It's not about people going on patrol and dealing with anti-social behaviour, it's about communities and having a say."

Similarly he has encouraged staff at the Royal Free to sign up as special constables and in the process reduced crime at the Pond Street hospital.

So far four people have joined the scheme and regularly patrol the wards.

Insp French said: "That has also helped our relationship with the Royal Free and we work much closer together now than we did before."

This month Insp French started his new job which puts him in charge of how schools are policed in the borough - so pupils at Camden schools should get be prepared for a range of new initiatives.

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