A CRIME fighter who has sacrificed hours protecting her community has stepped down over police cost-cutting.
Mary Naylor announced her resignation as Marton Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator after seven years following Lancashire Police’s decision to slash the number of newsletters they print on her behalf.
Mrs Naylor said: “Unfortunately, I find myself unable to stand by and watch mine and other Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators’ hard work be destroyed and undermined because of a cost-cutting measure.
“I’ve gone through four printers in 18 months and I think I’ve spent thousands over the years on the newsletters.
“Despite the fact I print 500 copies at my own expense, the police can only now assist with 250 copies per month, which leaves a shortfall of 1,350 copies.
“I’m gutted. ”
Police say they have been forced to withdraw resources from helping to print the newsletter as they face having to make savings of £42m by 2015.
Sgt Chris Hardy, from Lancashire Police, said: “We have worked very closely with the Neighbourhood Watch team in the Marton area for the past few years.
“Due to the fact the force has to save over £40m, savings have had to be made. It was not efficient for us to use police officer time in printing newsletters and then distributing them and there was also a cost implication too.
“A number of different proposals were put to the coordinator and a local printer had offered to print a number of copies free of charge. We also suggested they could be emailed to residents as so many people have email accounts these days but for whatever reason all these suggestions were rejected.”
Mrs Naylor said: “Many residents in the area don’t have a computer so replacing all the paper newsletters with an email would not work.
“We’ve got a wonderful policing team here and we’ve worked hand in glove.
“Our Neighbourhood Watch has gone that step further. It isn’t just about having a sticker in the window, it’s about bringing the community together. That’s why I started the newsletter. ”
Sgt Hardy added: “I would reassure the community there are still neighbourhood watch co-ordinators and the area is covered and supported by a dedicated neighbourhood policing team.
“Finally I would like to thank Mary for all her hard work over the past seven years.”