FAQs: Force Level Assoc.
Q. We don’t have a force area Neighbourhood Watch Association in place – how do we go about setting one up?
A. NHWN is happy to support you in getting an Association set up. There are a few things that you will need to put in place such as a constitution and policies around how your Association will communicate with its members. You will also need a key contact point to act as a link between the Association and NHWN. You will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Association and NHWN to set out our relationship, and you will be encouraged to put a similar arrangement in place with your police force if possible.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss this further.
Q. We have an Association in place but don’t yet meet the national Minimum Standards; how can you help us?
A. We can undertake a bespoke audit of your Association and provide you with tailored support in your force area. Every area undergoes an audit each year to measure progress, so that we can continue to support you on an ongoing basis as necessary.
Q. How can our Association work more closely with the police at force level?
A. The best first port of call is the police ‘single point of contact’ for Watch issues – we can put you in touch with them and they should be able to link you up with other relevant staff as needed. We recommend you look at your force’s Crime Prevention Strategy and priorities and see how you might be able to align your work with theirs over the year ahead. We advise Associations to put in place a Memorandum of Understanding with your police force setting out how you are going to work together. We will help you to the best of our ability to develop relationships within force to assist with this.
It is also important to make contact with your Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) as they are an important ally. Look for any mention of Neighbourhood Watch, voluntary groups or Citizens In Policing in their Police & Crime Plan to see where they envisage you fitting into their plans. You may also be able to bid for funding from your PCC.
Q. Our force area comprises several counties (or Districts), and each one has its own County (or District) Neighbourhood Watch Association. Why do we need an overarching force level Association?
A. The police and Police & Crime Commissioners operate at force level and all their strategies are geared towards those geographical areas. For Neighbourhood Watch to work effectively with the police it needs to align itself with the same areas. This allows joint working to take place at a strategic level.
NHWN is unable to work directly with Associations smaller than force area because this would take up more of our resources and dilute the support we are able to provide.
It is fine, however, for independent County and District Associations to continue operating within force areas and to take different approaches to their work as needed locally.
Q. How can I access the Register of Neighbourhood Watch schemes/coordinators for my area?
A. If your Association has a force level Register Administrator in place, they should be able to arrange you to access the Register. You will need to have some basic training and sign an Access Agreement to confirm that you agree to use the data appropriately and abide by the Data Protection Act.
If there is no Register Administrator for your force area, someone needs to be appointed to that role in order to access the Register – maybe you are interested in taking on that role, or it could be someone else. We can provide a role description so that you know what is involved. More than one person can do the job; indeed, we encourage this so that the Administrators have cover when someone goes on holiday or in case of illness. It is up to the Association whether they frame this as a ‘Register Administrator and Deputy’ set-up or whether they prefer to split the role in a different way.
There needs to be a force area Association in place before a Register Administrator can be appointed.
Q. Can you send a message to all coordinators/members on the Register in my area for me?
A. If there is a Register Administrator covering your force area, it is at their discretion which messages to send out.
If there is no Administrator it will not be possible to send a message to coordinators/members on the Register. NHWN does not communicate directly with coordinators/members as this would undermine the role of Associations. If Associations do not have access to the Register they are welcome to use whatever communication channels are at their disposal to message coordinators/members. The police may also be able to assist.
Q. We have administrative access to the Neighbourhood Watch Register but need a reminder about how to do something. Can you help?
A. You might like to have a look at http://faq.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk, where a number of questions about using the Register are addressed. If you can’t find what you are looking for there, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you.
Q. We don’t have administrative access to the Neighbourhood Watch Register but would like a coordinator/scheme removing. Can you help?
A. Removal of a coordinator or scheme from the Register is at the Association’s discretion and we can assist with the technical aspects of this.
Q. Can you help us make some changes to our Association website?
A. If we helped you to set up your Association site, the chances are we can help you to make some changes.
If your Association site was set up independently, without assistance from either NHWN or VISAV Ltd, we will be unable to help you edit the site unless you grant us administrative access to your Content Management System.
Associations should routinely maintain and update their own website content – NHWN won’t be able to do this for you on a regular basis – but if you have forgotten how to do something we are happy to help to the best of our ability.
Q. Our Districts would like their own Neighbourhood Watch websites. Can you provide these?
A. At the moment we can only provide websites for force area Associations. We will update this page if this changes in future.
Q. How can I change the Association contact person/details on your website?
A. Let us know which details you want to change and what the new ones are.
Q. Do you have any hard copy resources that you can send me?
A. Unfortunately NHWN does not hold any hard copy resources centrally at present. Occasionally resources become available via our partners or sponsors – your Force Area Representative, who acts as the key liaison between the Association and NHWN, will usually be the first to hear about these, so do make your interest known to them.
Q. There is a dispute ongoing with a coordinator in our area which we are struggling to resolve at Association level. Can you help?
A. NHWN will only intervene nationally as a last resort as ideally disputes should be resolved locally or at Association level. We stand by our Ethics & Standards Guidelines and reiterate that members not abiding by these will be subject to the sanctions set out in Section I. If you need further assistance please contact us.
Q. Can we put some of our news onto your website?
A. It depends what it is! We are always happy to hear about what Neighbourhood Watch schemes and Associations are doing locally and at force level, so please do get in touch with your news and we can put it on our website if appropriate.
Q. Can a member of NHWN staff attend our next Association meeting?
A. If our presence would be useful in developing or strengthening your Association we would definitely consider attending your meeting. Because we have limited resources and staffing we can’t attend all the meetings we are invited to, but if we can make a helpful, productive contribution we will do our best. Please contact us with more information about your meeting.