So what is Neighbourhood Watch (NHWatch) all about?
It is the largest, voluntary crime-reduction organisation in the UK, and in these days of constraints on police budgets, officer numbers and service reductions, it is a valuable asset to us all. Crime reports suggest that the presence of a NHWatch scheme in a road is a significant deterrent to the would-be ‘opportunist’ thief.
NHWatch schemes are owned and operated by scheme members, ideally with a ‘co-ordinator’ to act as the primary contact between the scheme and the local NHWatch group and police. In the Thames Valley Policing Area, Wycombe District Neighbourhood Watch Association (WDNHWA) is probably one of the most active Associations. WDNHWA organises regular local meetings, table displays at churches, supermarkets, etc., and special topic meetings to raise awareness of current issues, eg. ‘Cons, Scams & Cybercrime’. They can also provide a range of security products at competitive, the small profit on sales – along with some sponsor funding – being used to finance the Association. See: https://neighbourhoodwatchwycombe.org/
Being in a NHWatch scheme, not only provides information and other resources to promote individual safety and security, but also encourages neighbours to work together to enhance the overall security of a road. However, this does require members to take an active interest in their own and their neighbour’s security, and this is evidenced in many cases by social activities within schemes. The use of e-mail and other social networking apps can be usefully employed to communicate within a scheme and share information about possible crime situations.
Members need to:
- Be on their guard – against the many forms of doorstep, mail/e-mail and telephone cons and scams.
- Be vigilant – and develop an awareness of their area so that they are more likely to spot when something is ‘not right’,
- React – don’t assume that somebody else has reported a suspicious activity! Remember the story about four people called Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody: There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Better to have something reported twice than not at all.
- Report it – use the 101 number to report suspicious activities. This can be of great value to the police – if they don’t know about something, how can they be expected to do something about it? If you see a crime in progress, don’t hesitate, dial 999
Finally, if you are in a scheme, check that your street signs are up to scratch, and if not, DO something about it. Maybe your scheme needs a bit of a ‘Spring Clean’ to refresh things? WDNHWA are always happy to help.
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For further information about any of these topics or about Neighbourhood Watch, contact:
David Gresswell – Scheme Co-ordinator, Flackwell Heath
(Tel: 525019 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Police General & Non-emergency number: 101
Community Safety Team (Anti-social behaviour): 01494 421 087
Crimestoppers (Anonymous): 0800 555 111
Trading Standards (Consumer Direct): 0345 4 04 05 06
Cyberaware – https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/
ACTION FRAUD: 0300 123 2040 – https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/contact-us
The Information Commissioner’s Office: 0303 123 1113