People join Neighbourhood Watch to make the areas where they live safe, friendly and pleasant places to be - and it works.
The old stereotype of the Neighbourhood Watch curtain twitcher is wrong for one very simple reason: it implies fear. Neighbourhood Watch is about the opposite: making sure that no one has to feel afraid, vulnerable or isolated in the place where they live. It's about people looking out for each other, crossing barriers of age, race and class to create real communities that benefit everyone.
To explode another myth, Neighbourhood Watch groups are owned and run by the people of their communities, not the police. So the approach you take is entirely up to you. The most impressive Neighbourhood Watch achievements result from members looking closely at the needs of their communities and meeting them with innovative and creative thinking.
How does Neighbourhood Watch work?
Residents in a street simply decide to set up a scheme. All it takes is one person to pick up the phone and call Sussex Police on 101 for more information. Your local Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) or Neighbourhood Policing Team will be pleased to explain the easy set up process, which is completely free of charge.
What is involved?
Once the scheme is in operation, residents go about their normal lives using their eyes and ears, talk to each other and liaise with their Neighbourhood Police contacts. You will probably be surprised how friendly everybody becomes, and how quickly you can spot strangers and unusual activity. Equally, your neighbours will be keeping an eye open for trouble when you're away from home. Very little effort is needed.
NHW in Sussex
In Sussex, Neighbourhood Watch has the following main objectives:
- To reduce crime - By improving security, increasing vigilance, creating, and maintaining a caring community, and reducing opportunities for crime by increasing crime prevention awareness.
- To assist the Police in detecting crime - By promoting effective communication and the prompt reporting of suspicious and criminal activity.
- To reduce the fear of crime - By providing accurate information about risks, and by promoting a sense of security and community spirit, particularly amongst the more vulnerable.
- To improve police/community liaison - By providing effective means to notify Co-ordinators of local crime trends, and by members advising the police of incidents when they occur.
- To increase community safety - By providing safety information from other Partnership bodies such as Trading Standards and the Fire & Rescue Service.
Some Insurance Companies offer reductions in premiums for:
- Additional window locks
- Neighbourhood Watch Membership
Contact your insurance company and see if you are eligible as a member of Neighbourhood Watch for any discounts.
NHW and Sussex Police partnership
It is important that issues are addressed locally to find local solutions. The working partnership between Sussex Police and NHW offers the opportunity for this to happen at grass root levels. The Neighbourhood Policing teams regularly attend meetings in communities and are always approachable about neighbourhood concerns.
In addition to meetings, if you are a Coordinator for Neighbourhood Watch, and have email, you will also receive local crime messages from your Neighbourhood Policing Team.
The Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation, set up in 1995 with the full support of Sussex Police, acts as a forum, co-ordinates resources, provides help to its members and helps to share good practice across the County, as well as seeking to raise the profile of Neighbourhood Watch. It also represents the views of our members to the South East Regional Forum, and where necessary to National Neighbourhood Watch.
The main purposes of Neighbourhood Watch are to promote good citizenship and greater public awareness through Neighbourhood Watch groups, increase public participation in the prevention and detection of crime, reduce the fear of crime, improve police/community liaison and increase community safety.
Neighbourhood Watch is a "grass roots" organisation, run by its members for its members and is one of the UK's largest voluntary organisations. Anybody can join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Usually residents in a neighbourhood who support the aims and objectives of Neighbourhood Watch agree amongst each other that they will come together and form a local scheme, with the help and support of Sussex Police. This might be one or two streets in a town, or even part of a street, or it could be an entire village. Sussex Police maintains a register of all recognised schemes, and checks the suitability of the local co-ordinator to hold that position.