Comms. Strategy Template

[Force area] Neighbourhood Watch Association is the recognised independent constituted committee which has overall directive for Neighbourhood Watch in the geographical area of the town of [town] and the other districts within the county of [county/force area]:[list districts].

The association works under general guidance (not governance) from the Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (NHWN) nationally and alongside the [force area] Police and Crime Commissioner and the police service.

The aim of this strategy is to have a clear direction on ‘what’ we want to communicate, ‘why’ and with ‘whom’. The ‘when’ and ‘how’ will be detailed in an associated action plan.

A National Perspective

Nationally, NHWN will focus its communication primarily at force area associations with the expectation that the associations will then circulate relevant information from NHWN to their coordinators. The action plan will look at how this will be implemented, monitored and measured.

NHWN currently receives on average 13 new enquiries per day (national enquiry line, enquiry email and web forms) from the public, members, coordinators, media and partners. This does not include communication directly between the staff with existing contacts or replies sent via the national communication system.

The most popular page on the Our Watch website is the ‘your local area’ and ‘find a scheme’. Over 35,000 unique visitors go to the Our Watch website every month, with the majority being new visitors.

The new national website and the review of the current database and communication system will reflect this strategy. It is expected that the platforms will have been built by winter 2015, ready for a public-facing awareness campaign in 2016 after considerable training and support to force area associations to adopt and embed the new strategy and working practices.

Currently there are over 250 volunteer administrators who are contributing £1m of their time to managing and maintaining the national database and communication system.

[Force area] Perspective

[Force area description of current website, URL, database facilities, functionality, challenges and key requirements going forward, for example:]

The Executive Committee currently has a website primarily for the purpose of populating the database and allowing coordinators to map their scheme and for members to join. The website URL is [insert URL]. However, it does not offer any other information regarding the local context such as governance or contact details. It offers no crime prevention advice or toolkits. Going forward, it is anticipated that the Executive Committee will have an updated website, gifted by the Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (NHWN), which will contain critical tools and resources, making the Executive Committee more open, transparent and visible to the public and coordinators alike. It will link to tools developed by NHWN and will enable the Executive Committee to communicate effectively and quickly to public and members and respond to enquiries which have previously been handled by the national charity.

[Description of accessibility of database facilities available to the force area Neighbourhood Watch Association in partnership with police. Shared facilities, interdependency, or lack of access should also be noted, for example:]

The Committee uses the same database and communication system as the police; [name of system]. Currently a limited number of volunteer administrators are trained to administer the database and send out messages via the system. It is anticipated that this will increase considerably, lifting pressure from the small number of volunteers who have already taken on this task.

[Description of force area Neighbourhood Watch Association ambitions and future activity, for example:]

The Committee is fully on board with rolling out the national framework and encouraging all coordinators to map their schemes onto the database to ensure that they adhere to local and national membership procedures and policies. This will enhance the reach and proactive nature of the coordinators.
This strategy aims to help create a structure to ensure that, as new volunteers come on board, a consistent and effective approach is undertaken in relation to communication.

[Evidence supporting the force area Neighbourhood Watch Association ambitions and future activity, for example:]

From a recent survey of registered Neighbourhood Watch members, coordinators and deputies on Community Connect, 76% of the respondents said that being on the system makes them more motivated to be more active in crime prevention and community safety.

Surprisingly, the users most preferred [name of system] as a method of communication with the police in a non-emergency situation (instead of face to face, press release, Facebook or Twitter).

[Description of who this force area Neighbourhood Watch Communication Strategy is aimed at and limitations to the strategy, for example:]

This strategy is specifically for communication directly from trained Neighbourhood Watch administrators under the supervision and direction of the Executive Committee. Further development is needed with regard to how the police engage with Neighbourhood Watch and work in partnership with the Executive Committee to ensure that timely and relevant messages and information are sent not only to members but also to other registered users on [name of system].

Communications from the Executive Committee and information sent out from [force area] Police should complement rather than contradict each other, but we aim for both to be valued by the recipients who choose to receive and respond to them.

What do we (NHWN and Force Level Associations) need and want to communicate?

About the movement in general

  • Our purpose is to make communities safer and stronger
  • We have an impact on preventing crime and building stronger communities
  • We have the ability to reach out to a huge number of communities across England and Wales
  • We have the ability to be dynamic and proactive in response to civil society problems and emerging crime threats
  • Our power is our volunteers, not our paid support; it makes us unique
  • Our movement is a great organisation to volunteer for and join
  • Our movement provides interesting, timely and relevant local information on a range of issues including crime prevention and community matters
  • About [force area] Neighbourhood Watch Association

  • We are a critical part of the infrastructure and an essential partner for the police, community safety partnerships and local authorities
  • We are the oracle of all knowledge regarding membership for our patch
  • We have good links with other local community groups
  • About the Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network

  • They have the movement at their heart and everything the charity does is aimed at strengthening the support available to volunteers to help them undertake their roles in the most effective and enjoyable manner possible
  • They are a strong, dynamic and valued national charity, with the ability to compete with larger more costly charities on limited resources, to ensure that the movement remains valued and secures current and new commissions
  • They value local initiatives and champion information sharing and collaborative working
  • They understand local complexities but try to provide solutions across the movement to make things simpler
  • They are the associations’ biggest supporters and there to build their capacity
  • They seek resources and funding and try to use them in the most effective ways possible in order to have the greatest impact
  • Why do we need to communicate?

    The movement in general

  • It makes us effective – talking and sharing information is what makes our communities safer and stronger and is our biggest asset
  • By talking to more people at different levels, we can ensure good news and initiatives reach more people and have a bigger impact as a collective
  • Only 1% of the population have not heard of Neighbourhood Watch, but they may have a dated perception of what the movement does
  • It strengthens our brand (our brand is not just about a logo, it’s about perception and emotional attachment to an organisation)
  • [Force area] Neighbourhood Watch Association

  • Coordinators need to have timely, relevant information from a trusted and recognisable source
  • Coordinators need to feel valued and have adequate support and guidance
  • We can increase our impact with national campaigns being owned by local schemes
  • We can ensure the best use of resources, reduce duplication and share good practice
  • Positive leadership within the association is vital so that we can fully deliver the strategy

  • The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network

  • Communication is vital in delivering their strategic plan
  • The size and structure of the movement makes it harder to ensure that they get the same key messages out in a timely and effective manner. If they fail to do so, this may lead to misinterpretation and in some cases conflict which could easily be avoided and eliminated
  • To promote the worth of the charity
  • To secure sustainable funding
  • Who do we need to communicate with?


  • Members
  • Non-members within scheme area
  • Neighbouring scheme coordinators
  • Neighbourhood Policing Teams
  • Parish Councils
  • Area Association
  • Force Area Association
  • The [force area] Neighbourhood Watch Association

  • NHWN
  • Regional forum members
  • Coordinators
  • Community Safety Partnerships
  • Police Force Single Points of Contact
  • Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Chief Constable
  • Local media
  • Local authorities
  • Local community groups
  • Local sponsors
  • Funders
  • The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network

  • The force level associations and regional forums
  • Home Office and central government departments
  • Other national charities
  • National Police Chiefs Council
  • Police and Crime Commissioners
  • Chief Constables
  • Association of Police and Crime Commissioners
  • Commercial sponsors
  • Grant giving organisations and foundations
  • National media
  • Other European NW organisations
  • Institute of Community Safety
  • National Rural Crime Network
  • Suppliers
  • Files Attached

    Click link to Download

  • Communication-Strategy-Template.docx