Leeds Dogwatch scheme takes lead in fight against crime

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An army of canine cops and their owners – created to sniff out crime and make the streets and parks of Leeds safer – has helped police make several arrests, and has led to dozens of other leads.

As reported exclusively in the YEP last year, the Dogwatch scheme – the first of its kind in West Yorkshire – was launched in the west of the city.

Its aim was to encourage dog owners to operate like a canine Neighbourhood Watch in parks and public spaces, keeping their eyes and ears open for anything suspicious.

The Kennel Club welcomed the “great idea” and it’s already been so successful that other parts of Yorkshire now want to set up their own.

Swinnow-based community support officer Michael Cox, who created the original, said it now has 107 members and 17 businesses involved.

“These include local pet shops and vet surgeries. It has been very well received.”

He said that since the scheme was

launched, three people have been arrested for burglary and two men were arrested for metal thefts.

One person was arrested on suspicion of theft from a car and information on two suspected drunken drivers was also received.

Mr Cox said: “We have had numerous calls regarding anti-social behaviour.

“At the moment it is only in the west [of Leeds] but we have a PCSO from City and Holbeck and a PCSO from North Yorkshire who both want to set up a Dogwatch scheme.

“We do accept members from out of the West area – as the scheme goes to different areas we will pass across the membership.”

The Kennel Club has 80,000 dogs registered in West Yorkshire – although the number of actual dog owners is likely to be much higher.

Communications director Caroline Kisko said: “Dog owners provide a valuable neighbourhood network. They get to know their local area in a lot more detail than some non-dog owners do, and they also have more opportunity to see anything that might be suspicious. It sounds like a great idea to set up Dogwatch with West Yorkshire Police.”

Dogwatch operates via a membership scheme and forms are available in vets practices and public buildings throughout the city.

Call 0113 2414 999 or email: michael.cox@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

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