North Yorkshire Neighbourhood Watch Association
Harrogate & District Neighbourhood Watch Association took the initiative, identifying appropriate contacts for each District within the county, and the idea of a county Association was well-received. An initial meeting was held in March 2009 with the aim of standardising an approach, standards and practices with North Yorkshire Police. This was followed by an inaugural meeting at North Yorkshire Police HQ in May 2009 to formally establish North Yorkshire Neighbourhood Watch Association (NY NHWA). Harrogate & District Constitution was amended for adoption by NY NHWA.
Initial challenges & funding needs
No funding was applied for, but this was not detrimental to the formation of the Association. Photocopying, printing and administration were undertaken through North Yorkshire Police.
The main challenge was the difficulty of getting committed representatives from all areas and the appointment of Officers. The roles of Secretary and Treasurer proved difficult to fill.
Structure & governing documents
The Association comprises eight Districts of North Yorkshire. A quorum of five voting members from three Districts can make decisions.
The Officers comprise a Chair, Deputy Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.
The Association holds three meetings each year which are located in different parts of the county each time to equalise travel time. In addition, an AGM is held at Police Headquarters. This includes an Awards Ceremony and guest speakers.
The following documents can be accessed from the NY NHWA website www.nynhwa.co.uk:
Partnership working with the police
The Association worked hard to set up regular meetings with the police. Strong, positive relationships were achieved at force level by slowly building relationships at all levels within the police hierarchy. Progress was helped by the fact that, thanks for communities looking out for each other with good results, the Association was able to demonstrate that Neighbourhood Watch does work to reduce crime.
Now all District Lead Coordinators (and some Area Coordinators) meet quarterly with their local Inspector, and there is also involvement with Local Delivery Teams. The Chair of NY NHWA either meets or holds Facetime meetings weekly with the nominated police link person and the Watch Scheme Development Group meets on a quarterly basis to review the Partnership Agreement, agree strategies and resolve issues.
The benefit of hindsight
The following elements were particularly important in the successful formation and running of the Association:
Changes & challenges
Decisions are now made via email where possible, lessening the requirement for meetings. The Association has also started to make more use of social media.
The current police community messaging system has been under constant review and the police are now identifying an alternative system that will include social media and other ‘add-ons’, that will simplify communications and allow for two-way communication.
We believe that NY NHWA has, together with other agencies, contributed significantly to the fact that North Yorkshire – the largest county in England – is currently regarded as being the safest place to live, work and visit.
A Partnership Agreement was signed by the Chief Constable and the PCC at an AGM of NY NHWA – a most important and greatly valued success. The Chief Constable and PCC also support the Annual Awards Scheme to recognise those Neighbourhood Watch coordinators who have gone ‘the extra mile’.
Active District Neighbourhood Watch Associations exist across the County.
NY NHWA has an excellent website and other Associations also have their own informative websites full of useful links.
In Pickering recently, a 17-year-old has become the Association’s youngest coordinator and set up a new Scheme.
A new e-learning package is shortly to be introduced for use by police officers and PCSOs to aid their understanding of Neighbourhood Watch and how to set up new schemes.