POLICE chiefs have paid tribute to Neighbourhood Watch schemes across Hampshire in helping to cut crime.

Chief Inspector James Fulton, area commander for Winchester and East Hampshire, praised community volunteers for a 20 per cent fall in vehicle crime and a 15 per cent drop in violent crime.

He told a meeting of Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators: “It’s been a real success story. Last year, 2010 to 2011, we saw a significant fall in crime.”

He urged them to continue their work and to take advantage of social media.

He added: “We’re completely reliant on the likes of yourselves feeding information in to us. We would be sitting in the dark without your help.”