What does being a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator involve?
The success of Neighbourhood Watch is largely down to volunteers who give up their time to engage with their neighbourhoods and communities and local services, such as the police, to combat crime, reduce isolation and boost community activity.
A scheme may have more than one co-ordinator as long as members and police know who the key contacts are. Co-ordinators are the first point of contact for local residents and the wider community and ensure a smooth flow of information and communication between the police and scheme members, and other relevant agencies.
Co-ordinators also help their neighbourhoods by:
Knowing who their members are
Arranging for NW signs to be put up and maintained
Welcoming new residents to the NW scheme area and inviting other neighbours to join through the Our Watch website (www.ourwatch.org.uk)
Communicating regularly with members in order to maintain their interest and pass on information and advice relevant to their area
Organising meetings to bring members together
Communicating regularly with local groups and agencies such as the police and other relevant agencies; keeping a note of incidents or reports made to you and then passing them on to police or your local policing team
Keeping an eye on any elderly or vulnerable neighbours, or arranging for others to do so.
The co-ordinator plays a key role, however, when the whole neighbourhood or community gets involved, then the Watch is stronger and more effective for its members. The relationship between the NW coordinator and the police is also helpful to the sustainable success of any NW scheme. Co-ordinators pass concerns from the community about criminal or anti-social behaviour on to the police and create a way to regularly interact with the police to discuss community safety issues.
Co-ordinators also usually liaise with other co-ordinators in their locality to share information and good practice. Help and guidance is also available from the central support team at Neighbourhood Watch Network, the Our Watch website www.ourwatch.org.uk and the Enquiry Service (Enquiries@ourwatch.org.uk).
Once you make the decision to set up a scheme and become a co-ordinator, you have taken the first step in bringing your community together. Once you start talking to your neighbours you will be heartened by the positive response.