Neighbourhood Watch is a group of residents who join together to help protect themselves and their properties from criminal activity, to reduce the fear of crime and to improve their local environment. Their primary objective is to look out for one another and report any crime or suspicious activity to the Police. By working together as a group, rather than as individuals, households can employ effective crime prevention measures and achieve safer communities to live in.
• Becoming a member of Neighbourhood Watch (NHW)
• How to set up a new Neighbourhood Watch Street Scheme
• Role of Neighbourhood Watch Street Coordinators and Members
• Neighbourhood Watch - Working together
• Neighbourhood Watch - Working with partners
• Getting in touch with the Central Bedfordshire NHW Association
Becoming a member of Neighbourhood Watch
Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) schemes are community initiatives that are supported by the
police but are owned and run by their members. There are many street schemes up and
running in over 40 areas of Central Bedfordshire and you may already be living close to an existing Neighbourhood Watch group.
To find out if there is a scheme where you live, you can contact Central Bedfordshire
Neighbourhood Watch by email at email@example.com and they will arrange for someone to contact you. If there is a group in your area you will be given details to contact the local Street or Area Coordinator to find out about joining a scheme.
Individual Neighbourhood Watch schemes may have different characteristics, depending on the area in which they are situated, although their objectives will be the same.
How to set up a new Neighbourhood Watch Street Scheme
Anybody in a neighbourhood, however large or small, can set up a scheme. The first step is to speak to your neighbours and find out if they are interested in starting a scheme. The more residents there are who want to get involved, the more successful a scheme will be.
However, not everyone in a street or neighbourhood needs to join a scheme for it to work. It will work as long as there are enough residents to keep an eye out for each other’s properties and to liaise with the police.
In Central Bedfordshire, Area Coordinators have been established to help set up new schemes and to maintain regular contact with existing groups. They can provide valuable assistance and support, as well as additional resources, such as membership packs.
If you and your neighbours want to start a scheme, you should contact the Central Bedfordshire NHW Association and they will do what they can to help you.
Role of NHW Street Coordinators and Members
The traditional role of Neighbourhood Watch Street Coordinators is to set up and maintain a scheme within a specific street or neighbourhood. They will also work within their scheme to coordinate NHW activities and ensure that a two-way flow of information is available to all.
This will assist in assuring that everyone is informed on any reported suspicious activity or incidents, on personal safety and property security, and local crime prevention initiatives.
Whatever is decided by the members, the role of a Coordinator does not have to become a burden. Depending on the size of your group, it may be useful to encourage other members to assist the Coordinator and some of the following requirements should be considered.
• Do you need to appoint a Deputy Coordinator ?
• How will you communicate with members (e.g. personal contact, email, telephone or
• If you intend to produce newsletters, how often and who will draft them ?
• Do you need to cover the costs of running the scheme (e.g. newsletters, telephone
calls, meetings) and if so, do you need to appoint a Treasurer ?
• Do you need to hold regular meetings ? If so, how often will you meet and where ?
Depending on availability, members of the Local Policing Team may be able to attend scheme meetings and provide additional advice and information on home security and other ways of keeping your neighbourhoods safer.
Neighbourhood Watch - Working together
Traditionally, Neighbourhood Watch activities have focused on the immediate vicinity of homes, with members looking out for anything suspicious or helping their neighbours as necessary. It is now estimated that around 3.8 million households in England and Wales are members of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
However, more and more schemes are broadening their work to target a range of other problems such as anti-social behaviour, vandalism and environmental issues that directly affect their communities. When links are made with other local schemes and wider associations are formed, the membership can become a powerful voice within a community and can,
• address issues of local concern directly with members of the Local Policing Team;
• become involved in community problem-solving, including taking part in local forums
to determine which problems to target and what actions to take;
• play a more dynamic role in tackling crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour;
• promote crime prevention and home safety;
• adopt additional responsibilities to take specific action on more general community
problems, such as vehicle speeding and assisting vulnerable residents;
• assist the purposes and objectives of Neighbourhood Watch with publicity and
promotion to encourage the recruitment of new members and the establishment of
new Street schemes;
• provide advice, resources and manpower to assist the Central Bedfordshire
Neighbourhood Watch Association.
Neighbourhood Watch - Working with partners
Neighbourhood Watch works best where there is a strong relationship between the group
and the local police. The police cannot deal with all the problems and issues arising from crime and anti-social behaviour alone – they need the help of the community.
At a local level, Local Policing Teams will attempt to liaise with Neighbourhood Watch
volunteers on a regular basis to enable a two-way flow of communication and keep
households abreast of issues affecting their local neighbourhood that they may be able to help with. They will either do this through direct contact with PCSOs, the respective NHW Area Coordinators, the Central Bedfordshire NHW Association, or use the “Ringmaster” information and messaging system to share information about recent crimes in the area.
The purpose of Neighbourhood Watch is to report suspicious events in their area to the
police. This becomes ever more important as police resources are reduced and tasks are
prioritised elsewhere. People really can make a difference to the safety of their community by reporting what they see. Neighbourhood Watch also gives people the chance to get to know and help each other better.
It is anticipated that the recent introduction of a Police and Crime Commissioner, and their associated support group the Police and Crime Panel, will want to establish a close working relationship with the NHW groups in Bedfordshire and their individual Street schemes. There are other agencies and community groups working throughout our County to sustain safer neighbourhoods and Neighbourhood Watch will be represented, wherever possible.
Getting in touch with the Central Bedfordshire Neighbourhood Watch Association
You can contact the Central Bedfordshire NHW Association at the following email address:
Or, visit our website at: www.bedfordshire-neighbourhoodwatch.co.uk
Or, call the Neighbourhood Watch Support Officer on 01234 275165 / 842043