Where do I start?
Setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
Scams and Older People
Child Sexual Exploitation
Loneliness and Vulnerability
IF I WANT TO SET UP A NW SCHEME, WHERE DO I START?
If you are keen to set up a NW group in your local area, the first step is to check whether there is already a scheme in place. You can do this by entering your postcode on the home page of the NW website, www.ourwatch.org.uk, and hitting search. This will give you a list of existing schemes in your area.
If there is already a scheme in place, you can register your interest on the Our Watch website and your local co-ordinator will contact you. At that point, you could ask the co-ordinator if they would like any help or support in running the scheme.
If there is no scheme already, you can set up a scheme. Some scheme co-ordinators will have spoken to some neighbours beforehand to make sure there is some support for setting up a scheme. Other co-ordinators like to set up the scheme and then tell people who they can join. Either way, following these steps will help you to set up a scheme:
Steps to follow when you set up a scheme
Go to www.ourwatch.org.uk. Put in your postcode, or for recently built areas a postcode nearby (like the postcode of a local shop). Scroll down to near the foot of the page to scheme not showing, and press enter
The screen will show the registration process. Click to agree the terms and conditions.
Enter your own details to register yourself first and create a password as indicated on screen. Press proceed to next step and press enter
Confirm map location as requested to do so on screen. Then press proceed to next step
Complete your details. Press proceed to next step and tick what communication you would like. Press proceed to next step
Complete the page as requested and press proceed to next step
Tick what information providers you want to receive information from and press proceed with current selection
Press on JOIN (when setting up a new scheme) and follow the instructions by naming your NW scheme
Select your role from the drop-down box as co-ordinator and press proceed to next step
Map your scheme (follow instructions on page or press proceed to next step). Press proceed and add the details of the scheme. Press proceed and enter the verification number given to you on screen. Press enter and the registration is completed.
Once this is done, go onto your email and verify email address and the registration is now complete.
If you have any problems signing up, contact the Neighbourhood Watch Network Enquiries Desk on Enquiries@ourwatch.org.uk and they will be able to help.
The boundaries of any new scheme are mapped when you register on Our Watch. The smallest groups have just a few homes, perhaps in a cul-de-sac, or two or three properties in a rural community. In a tower block, a scheme may cover a whole floor. There is no maximum size of a scheme, but it important that the scheme is of a size that the coordinator feels they can comfortably manage.
You don’t need support from every household, however, involving a good proportion of the residents within an area will mean there are enough residents to keep an eye out for each other’s properties and report any criminal activity and suspicious incidents.
Here are some ideas to involve your neighbourhood and community:
Organising a public meeting and inviting members of the community to attend
Distributing letters or leaflets to all properties within the area you would like your scheme to cover and inviting people to contact you
Writing an article in your local community newsletter
Going door-to-door to speak to residents individually
Posting an item on your local community social media pages
Once you have registered your new scheme, it is highly recommended that you contact your local Neighbourhood Watch Association (these are generally aligned with police force areas or London boroughs). For more info about Associations and a list of those currently in operation, click here. If there is no Association already operating in your area, contact the national NW by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. NW will then contact you and connect you with a nearby coordinator for support and advice on how the process works locally.
Then, contact your local police or Police Community Support Officer to let them know you are have set up or are in the process of setting up a new scheme. Find your local force on www.police.uk or call 101.
Different NW Associations and police forces have different systems for registering new schemes. Some may require coordinators to undergo checks or be verified by referees; others may require schemes themselves to undergo an accreditation process. (This is why, when you enter your postcode into the homepage of www.ourwatch.org.uk, some schemes are listed as ‘self-declared’ while others are listed as ‘verified’ by different agencies. You can read more about verification here.) The central support team at Neighbourhood Watch Network does not accredit schemes or coordinators.
Should people not wish to register on the NW website, you can keep your own records of your scheme’s members. However, if you do this you must ensure these records comply with Data Protection laws and you must be sure to obtain their consent to pass on their contact details to anyone else. Click here for our guide to Data Protection legislation. We recommend encouraging all residents to join via the NW website, as then co-ordinators aren’t keeping people’s personal data themselves. If residents are reluctant to do this, you could offer to do it for them.
When a scheme is first formed it is helpful to have a launch meeting with all the members of the new scheme. At this meeting you can:
– Talk about what the scheme is going to do and how it will work within the neighbourhood
– Determine how members wish to be communicated with – email, regular meetings, social media pages?