Dog-walkers are being asked to do their bit to help fight crime in Blackpool as police find creative new ways to cope with fewer staff.
As frontline officers fall victim to police cuts, Lancashire Police is calling on pet owners to keep their eyes and ears open on their regular strolls around the resort.
Blackpool Dog Watch is signing up members of the public to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to police. The scheme officially launches later this month.
Watch liaison officer Sue Blackburn said: “With the cutbacks we have to be more creative and think of ways in which the public can help the police, who will be even more thin on the ground in the future.
“People take their dogs out for a walk every day come rain or shine, with many regularly taking the same route multiple times per day.
“Their eyes and ears could be invaluable in getting information to the police.”
She said residents can help by looking out for suspicious activity and keeping an eye on vulnerable neighbours.
Ms Blackburn added: “If that person’s routine changes, they may be the first to notice this and could alert someone who can check on them.
“With hundreds of dog walkers out and about, many of whom have mobile phones, they can report incidents to the police very quickly.
“It is possible that they will see something going on, such as vandalism, anti-social behaviour, or even a burglary, which should be reported to the police immediately.”
She has purchased kits for people who sign up to the scheme, including a torch and high-visibility armbands with “Dog Watch” written on them.
Anyone interested in signing up to the scheme should call Sue Blackburn on (01253) 604134.
The launch event starts at 2pm at the bandstand in Stanley Park on October 27.