Social Media


Domestic Abuse
Domestic Abuse
Scams and Older People
Scams and Older People
Modern Slavery
Modern Slavery
Child Sexual Exploitation
Child Sexual Exploitation
Serious Violence
Serious Violence
Loneliness and Vulnerability
Loneliness and Vulnerability
Social Media
Social Media
Setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
Setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme


Domestic Abuse

Modern Slavery

Child Sexual Exploitation

Serious Violence

Loneliness and Vulnerability

Social Media


Setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Group or Page on Facebook

Facebook has over two billion monthly users, so it’s a good platform to use for a NW scheme as many of your scheme’s members are likely to already have Facebook accounts.

First, decide whether you want your scheme to have a Group or a Page.  You can take a look at an example of an existing NW Group here and an existing Page here.

What’s the difference?

Facebook Pages enable public figures, businesses and organisations to create an authentic and public presence on Facebook. Facebook Pages are visible to everyone on the internet by default. Every person on Facebook can connect with these Pages by ‘liking’ or ‘following’ them – once they have done this they can receive updates from the Page in their personal Facebook News Feed and can interact with these updates by liking or sharing them, or posting replies. Others can also post messages on the Page if you are happy for them to do so – more on this below.

Only official representatives of your NW scheme should create a Facebook Page, ideally the coordinator.

Click here for more detailed information about what happens when people like or follow your Page.

Facebook Groups, on the other hand, are the place for small-group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organise, share relevant information, post photos and videos and discuss issues.

When you create a Group, you can decide whether to make it publicly available for anyone to join, require your approval (as administrator) for members to join, or keep it private and by invitation only. As with Pages, new posts by a Group will appear in the News Feeds of its members’ Facebook accounts, and members can interact and share posts with one another from the Group.

So, in essence, a Page is much more public than a Group. It’s up to you and your scheme to decide which you would prefer.

In order to set up a Facebook Group or Page for your NW scheme, first you need to have a Facebook account yourself. If you don’t already have one, there are plenty of guides online to help you set one up: there’s this guide on Facebook itself but this one is more comprehensive.  If you didn’t particularly want a personal Facebook account, the best option is to make your profile private and essentially invisible using the privacy settings.


Setting up a Page from scratch

If you want to create a Page, follow these steps…

Once logged into your Facebook account, click on the drop-down arrow to the right of your name and the notifications bell in the top right-hand corner and select Create Page:

(Click once on images to enlarge)

On the next page, choose Community or Public Figure and click Get Started:

Your Page should be the name of your scheme, ie ‘South Side Neighbourhood Watch’; the category should be Community:

Next, you can upload a profile photograph – this is for the small image on the top left of the Page.  You can use the NW logo for this, download it from this link on our website.

Next, you’ll be asked to upload a cover photo – this is for the large photo across the top of the page.  It’s good to use a photograph of your neighbourhood if you can, but make sure you have the permission of the copyright owner to publish the photograph. The image you use needs to be at least 400 pixels wide and at least 150 pixels tall.  You will know if it’s big enough once you try to upload it; Facebook will tell you if your image is too small.

You don’t have to upload a photo, but it’s good practice if you can, because photos make the Page look much nicer and more interesting:

Once you’ve uploaded the logo and the cover image, you’ll be presented with your new Page.  This is now published.  If you wish to unpublish it until you’ve finished preparing it, you can do so by going to the Settings link in the top right-hand corner.  You’ll see Page Visibility at the top – click Edit and unpublish the page.  You can go back and publish it again once you’ve finished.

The Settings link has lots of other options about operating the Page, too.  You should check each of these and ensure you’re happy with the default settings, or change them.

Once you’re happy with all the Settings, go back to the Homepage and click on Add a Short Description of Your Page.  Once you’ve added a description, you’ll be given the option to Add More Info to Help Visitors. Click on Edit Page Info and you’ll be able to input details such as contact details for your scheme (phone number, email address, website address if your scheme has one) and location details (there’s a map).

Just beneath the Page title on the left, under the logo, you’ll see a link called @username.  Click this to give your Page a memorable title, ie @SouthsideNW. People can then search for SouthsideNW to find your page easily.

Your Page is all set to go now.  You might want to post a message in the Create Post box beneath the large picture, just welcoming everyone to the Page:


Once the Page is published, you’ll see a message encouraging you to invite people to like or follow your page – if you know that your scheme members are already on Facebook, you can search for them by name and send them this message directly.

Along the top of the page you’ll see links including Inbox, Notifications, Insights, Publishing Tools – but you’ll only use these once people have started interacting with the Page:

Inbox will show messages from people; Notifications lets you choose how to be notified when someone has engaged with your Page:

The Insights link gives you analytics data, such as how many visitors your page has had, how many people liked the page, how many people are following the page to receive all updates, and how many posts were submitted to it, over a defined period.  This allows you to track the progress of your page over time.

Down the left-hand side you’ll see a list of links, including Events – this lets you organise an event and tell people about it. Another one is About – at this link you can add yourself as a team member, to let visitors know that you are responsible for the Page.  If you add yourself here, your name and profile photo will be shown on the Page and the new Page will appear on your personal Facebook profile.

To see what your Page looks like to visitors:

1. Go to your Page.
2. Click  below your Page’s cover photo.
3. Select View as Page Visitor.

Managing and Moderating the Page

You need to decide how you will administer your page, and adjust your Page’s Settings (top right) to reflect your preferences. Are you happy for everybody to see what you post on the Page? You can restrict who can see your posts in their News Feed, for example by gender, age, or interest.  You can also limit who can see posts on your Page, by location.

Are you happy for anybody to share your posts to their own Facebook account, so that all their friends can see the posts, or do you want to limit who can do this?

Are you happy for people to post messages on your Page, and for these to be published immediately?  Or would you rather review them first?  Doing so means you can weed out any unsavoury posts or profanity, but be aware that moderating posts and comments is time-consuming, and will cause a delay in messages getting published if you are not able to check them immediately.  This is clearly disadvantageous if somebody is posting a message to, say, warn neighbours about suspicious behaviour happening there and then, and could discourage people from using the Page if their posts aren’t being published in a timely manner.

To learn how to control what others can post on your Page, click here.

Roles for Page Managers

There are 6 different types of roles for people who manage Pages. When you create a Page, you automatically become the Page’s admin, which means only you can change how the Page looks and publish as the Page. Only an admin can assign roles and change others’ roles.

Multiple people can have roles on a Page, but each person needs their own personal Facebook account.

The table below outlines the 6 Page roles (across) and what they’re able to do (down):

Admin Editor Moderator Advertiser Analyst Jobs Manager
Manage Page roles and settings
Edit the Page and add apps
Create and delete posts as the Page
Send messages as the Page
Respond to and delete comments and posts to the Page
Remove and ban people from the Page
Create ads, promotions or boosted posts
View insights
See who published as the Page
Publish and manage jobs

To give someone a role managing your Page, go to Settings, then click on Page Roles on the left.


Setting up a Facebook Group from scratch

If you want to create a Group, follow these steps…

Once logged in to your Facebook account, click on the drop-down arrow to the right of your name and the notifications bell in the top right-hand corner and select Create Group:

You will see this box:

Add a name for your Group, ie South Side Neighbourhood Watch, invite people to join by adding their names or email addresses (they will need to already be on Facebook), and set the privacy settings.  You can click on the link on the right to Learn More About Groups Privacy but essentially you can choose from three levels of privacy; your Group can be Public, Closed, or Secret.

With a Public Group, anybody can see it and post to it.  With a Closed Group, anyone can find the Group and see who runs it, but you must become a member in order to post a message or see who else is a member and see what they post. With a Secret Group, only members can find the Group, see who’s in it and what they post.

Once you’ve decided on the type of Group you want, click Create.  You will then be taken to the page for your new Facebook Group, which should look something like this:

At this page, you can add a photo to give your Group’s page some personality, and invite more people to join using the Invite Members function on the right of the page.  You might also want to post a welcome message:

Setting Group Rules

You should probably set some guidelines for members of the Group. Click on the ···More button at the bottom left of the cover image. Click on Moderate Group, then on Create Rules. You will see some example rules to apply to your Group.  You can use these ones or edit them to suit your circumstances.


You may wish to present the rules to Group members in the Description section of the Group’s page.  Here’s how one NW Group does it:


Roles for Group Managers

As with Pages, there are two roles for people who manage Groups: admins and moderators.

This table outlines the roles and what they’re able to do:

Admin Moderator
Make another member an admin or moderator
Remove an admin or moderator
Manage Group settings (eg: change the Group name, cover photo or privacy settings)
Approve or deny membership requests
Approve or deny posts in the Group
Remove posts and comments on posts
Remove and block people from the Group
Pin or unpin a post

If you want to allow another member of your Group to be an admin or moderator:

1. From your News Feed, click Groups in the left menu and select your Group.
2. Click Members in the left menu.
3. Click next to the person you want to make an admin or moderator.
4. Select Make Admin or Make Moderator.

When people ask to join the group, you can choose whether to get an immediate notification by email, or only see them if you go to Member Requests.  Make this selection under Moderate Group.

If you want to learn more about the people who want to join your group, you can ask them up to three questions. Sometimes this will pop up as an option while you are setting up the page:

Otherwise, you can set these questions by going to ···More at the bottom left of the cover picture, and clicking on Edit Group Settings.

This link is also home to lots of other options for the Group, too, such as membership approvals and settings for posting and publishing messages and stories.  Here are some of the options:

For more detail about managing your Group, click here.

What To Use Your Facebook Page or Group For

That’s probably enough guidance to help get you started with setting up a Facebook Page or Group.  So, now that your Page or Group is ready to go, what sort of things might it be used for?

1. Crime prevention.

Because Facebook is instant, it can be a very useful crime prevention tool.  Members of your scheme can post messages about suspicious activity going on in your neighbourhood, warning residents in a timely manner and making them more vigilant. Here’s an example of a post from an existing Neighbourhood Watch group:

Here’s some other ideas for the kinds of things you can post:

2. Spreading the word about meetings or events
3. Reporting of recent crimes in the area
4. Notifying of personnel changes at Neighbourhood Watch or local police/community safety teams
5. Police successes at apprehending offenders
6. Media reports of court judgments and sentencing of offenders
7. Warnings about new types of scams
8. Updates from the Neighbourhood Watch Network
9. Notifying of planning applications in your area
10. General notices about your local area

Here are some genuine examples from other Pages:


Adding Pictures to Posts

Pictures (and videos) will make your posts more interesting to members or readers. Even if it’s just a generic picture, it will add interest to your post and make people more likely to read it. According to research, content with images gets 94% more views than those without. But the image needs to be relevant to what your message is about. Make sure it’s not anybody’s copyright, though.  An easy way to find pictures that you can use is as follows:

1. Search in Google for the subject you want. For example, ‘Burglary’.
2. Click on Images across the top of the results page.
3. Click on Settings across the top of the results page, and then Advanced Search.
4. Scroll down to Usage rights and click on Free to use or share. Click the Advanced search button at the bottom right of the page.
5. All the results are ok to use. Double-click on the image you want, then right-click on it and choose Save image.  Save it to your computer and then upload to your Facebook post using the Photo/video button at the bottom left of the Create post box.
6. There are also stock photo libraries that offer a limited number of free images – just search for ‘free photos’. stockfreeimages.com is a decent one.

Here’s a typical post using a free stock image:

CCTV Footage or Images

However, you must never share images or recordings from CCTV cameras on social media sites without permission from the police.  There are lots of data protection rules governing CCTV and you don’t want to risk censure or a fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office. You could also jeopardise a police investigation, and any repercussions from such activity may not be covered under the Public Liability Insurance currently offered to Neighbourhood Watch schemes by the Neighbourhood Watch Network. Click here for more information about CCTV and data protection.

Monitoring Engagement with your Facebook Group or Page

You can track the progress of your Facebook Group or Page to see how many people are engaging with it, and how. The common terms used are ‘Reach’ and ‘Engagement’.

REACH represents the number of individuals who have seen at least one post on a Facebook page in the reported month.

ENGAGEMENT represents the number of times individuals have interacted with a post, be that to like, share or comment. (This is not a count of the individuals who have engaged).

You may not be especially worried about the popularity of your Page or Group, but tracking visitor numbers and interactions over time can be a useful indicator of the success of your Neighbourhood Watch scheme in general.  If visitor numbers and comments start to fall after a while, this might suggest that interest in your scheme is waning, and you can take action, on or offline, to reinvigorate it.  And if engagement is increasing, then you must be doing something right and should keep it up!

Police Engagement

Seasoned Neighbourhood Watch Facebook admins says that getting the local Police to engage with your page or group has a significant impact on its reach and engagement. Correspondingly, it also has an effect on the quality of engagement and levels of support for the Police.

So, once your Facebook account is set up, make sure you let the local Police know and encourage them to get involved with it.

Monitoring Progress on Your Facebook Page

On your Page, click on ··· beneath the main image and then on View Insights.

Here you will see the record of all the activity on your Page – you can choose the date range by clicking on the link at the top left.  You can see data such as number of page views, number of followers, number of likes, number of users who had your posts appear on their screen, and so on.  Hovering over the little italic ‘i’ at the top right of each box tells you what each heading means.

Scroll further down to see the data for your most recent posts, and even further down to choose some other Pages that you want to compare yours with:

At the top right of the Insights page you can even export your data into a spreadsheet:

Monitoring Progress of your Facebook Group

If your Group has more than 250 members, you can view analytics about your group’s activities in the Group Insights link in the left sidebar menu of the Group page.

First, you get a quick glance at your Group’s rate of growth, post engagement, and member demographics. Below that, click on the Growth drop-down menu to see the total number of members and membership requests over a period of 28 to 60 days.

Click on Engagement Details to view the number of posts in a chosen timespan – this data is useful to see if your community is becoming more or less engaged. You can also see the number of active members in your group, along with the most popular days and times that people visit the group.  Use this information to plan when to schedule posts to your group for maximum reach.

Results for West Mercia Police Force Area NW Facebook Accounts

There are a number of Facebook accounts for Neighbourhood Watch schemes within the West Mercia Police Force Area, and administrators regularly produce a comprehensive report covering the reach, engagement, demographics and police engagement for each Page or Group, as well as aggregated results for the whole Force Area.  Here’s the first page of a recent report:

To learn more about using Facebook and to answer any questions we haven’t answered here, go to https://www.wikihow.com/Use-Facebook

There’s also a video on YouTube called How to use Facebook.

Or you can email Neighbourhood Watch Network for help on Enquiries@ourwatch.org.uk.