SERGEANTS Ben Styles and Patrick Willenberg are set to become familiar figures around town as Stroud’s new neighbourhood policing team.

The pair bring more than 13 years of experience to the role, which will see them engaging widely with the community to tackle a range of issues and offer sound crime prevention advice.

Sgt Willenberg, who joined the force in 2008 and Sgt Styles, who started out as a Stroud PC in 2004, have never worked together before but are keen to join forces to drive down Stroud’s crime figures and build a reputation as a trusted presence in the town.

"It is early days yet but we are looking forward to making an impression and achieving some positive consistency," said Sgt Willenberg, who attended Marling School before beginning his policing career as a response officer in Stonehouse.

Sgt Styles, whose former role as a Stroud PC has given him invaluable knowledge of the town and its communities, added: "This is a new role for both of us and is something we are keen to get to grips with.

"It is a very different style of policing to what I am used to but I am relishing the change and the opportunity to get involved and try to make a difference. That is what most people join the police force for."

Among their top priorities, based on crime statistics for the town, is tackling street drinking and anti-social behaviour in areas such as Bank Gardens, Stratford Park and outside the Sub Rooms.

Criminal damage and the annual increase in burglaries as the winter nights draw in are other issues high on the agenda for the pair, who can also carry out crime surveys and offer training for communities to conduct their own speed watch programmes.

"Especially this time of year with the clocks going back, we always notice an increase in break-ins," added Sgt Styles.

"A burglar will walk down a street trying every door until they find one that is open but simple crime prevention steps like keeping doors and windows locked and leaving a few lights and the radio on will mean you don’t give an invite to people who want to break in.

"This role is very much about educating and informing people and listening to what our communities want.

"Of course we want to reduce crime but we also want to reduce the chances of people becoming the victims of crime."

Anyone who would like to contact Sgt Willenberg and Sgt Styles about an issue can call Gloucestershire police on 101.