FAQs: Police

Q. What is the relationship between Neighbourhood Watch and the police?

A. We aim to maintain and develop a strong working relationship at all levels – national, force and local – in order to further our common aim of preventing crime and keeping people safe in their communities.

NHWN works closely with the National Police Chiefs Council – particularly Chief Constable Dave Jones who heads up the Citizens In Policing portfolio – the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners and the College of Policing.

You can read about the relationship between Neighbourhood Watch and the police in more depth here.

Q. What contribution can Neighbourhood Watch make towards preventing crime?

A. Academic research – notably Bennett, Holloway and Farrington (2008) The Effectiveness of Neighbourhood Watch – has shown that Neighbourhood Watch can reduce crime by 26%. The well-recognised window stickers are a deterrent to criminals, who prefer to choose the easiest possible target.

As the largest voluntary movement in England and Wales with around 173,000 coordinators covering 3.8 million households, we have a huge reach and the ability to deliver crime prevention messages directly to residents via a trusted and respected source. Our local focus coupled with a wealth of detailed information enables communications to be targeted with appropriate methods to where they are most needed. This puts us in a very strong position to help tackle rising issues like fraud and cybercrime as well as the more traditional community issues like burglary and anti-social behaviour.

Q. How can I help to strengthen the relationship between Neighbourhood Watch and the police in my force?

A. We think it’s important for this relationship to be developed at force level. Even if there are already strong links between neighbourhood officers on the ground and Neighbourhood Watch coordinators, it’s vital for this work to have a place within wider crime prevention strategy in order to be most effective. Neighbourhood Watch sits within the Citizens In Policing family – alongside the Special Constabulary, Police Support Volunteers and Cadets – so we recommend that you speak to whoever manages this portfolio for your force to see how Neighbourhood Watch fits in and if there is anything you can do to support this work.

The force level Neighbourhood Watch Association should be one of your force’s greatest allies – you can find their contact information here.

Q. Our force uses the Neighbourhood Alert software to communicate with people and record Neighbourhood Watch coordinators. How does that link in with your system?

A. NHWN also uses the Neighbourhood Alert software to manage our Register of Neighbourhood Watch schemes and coordinators. This means that there is a seamless sharing of information between us and your force. The end user chooses which organisations can ‘see’ their data – their details remain the same on the record; they simply choose whether they want them to be visible to the police, Neighbourhood Watch or both. This means that any data updates – whether by the end user themselves or a system administrator – are automatically visible to all without the need for duplication of records.

In some forces, the Neighbourhood Alert system is known by a different brand name. Examples include ‘In The Know’ in Lancashire, ‘Ecops’ in Cambridgeshire and ‘Thames Valley Alert’ in Thames Valley. People sometimes refer to our brand name as ‘Our Watch’ because of our domain name. However, although the names are different, they are all underpinned by the same software and benefit from the same data sharing element outlined above.

Q. Our force doesn’t use the Neighbourhood Alert software to communicate with people. How can we share data between the police and Neighbourhood Watch and make sure communications are joined up?

A. The best first port of call is your force area Neighbourhood Watch Association. They should have a communication strategy together with a Memorandum of Understanding with the police – or if these are not yet in place, will be working towards this.

Your force should also have a ‘single point of contact’ (SPOC) for Watch issues who will be able to help.

There are technical solutions which can enable data to be shared between two different systems. This requires the cooperation of your software supplier. If this is of interest please contact us.

Q. Are there any Neighbourhood Watch campaigns that we could link in or get involved with?

A. Our regular annual campaign is National Neighbourhood Watch Week. This takes place in June, always during the week including the longest day. The ‘week’ also includes the weekend at either end so that people can capitalise on good weather if they want to hold open-air events.

Each year we choose a different theme for National Neighbourhood Watch Week. To find out more about this year’s campaign, contact us.

There may be local campaigns and initiatives going on within your area – contact the force area Neighbourhood Watch Association to find out more about these.

Q. I’ve had an enquiry from someone who wants to set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. How should I take this forward?

A. The process for setting up a new scheme varies depending on which force area you’re from. Your force ‘single point of contact’ for Watch issues and the force area <a href=”https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/force-level-association/” target=”_blank”>Neighbourhood Watch Association should be able to help you.

Q. I’ve recently set up some new Neighbourhood Watch schemes; how can I add them to your Register?

A. If your force is one of the ones which uses the Neighbourhood Alert database and communication software, someone from your Corporate Communications department should be able to help you add the schemes.

If your force area is covered by a Neighbourhood Watch Communications Administrator, they should be able to add the schemes to the Register for you. Visit this page and scroll down to the penultimate FAQ to find out if your area is covered and then contact the relevant Neighbourhood Watch Association for assistance.

If your area isn’t covered, contact us and we will be happy to help.

Q. Can you provide me with a list of Neighbourhood Watch coordinators in my area?

A. NHWN is unable to provide this information for you. We recommend you contact your Neighbourhood Watch Association to see whether they can assist.

Q. Where can I get Neighbourhood Watch stickers from?

A. There is a list of contact points for window stickers here.

Q. Where can I get Neighbourhood Watch lamp post signs from?

A. At the moment, Neighbourhood Watch lamp post signs are organised locally – we don’t hold a central stock or a list of contact points. Your Neighbourhood Watch Association is the best port of call to find out about these.

We are aiming to produce a national ‘preferred suppliers’ list for the production of signs and will update the FAQ accordingly once that is in place.

Q. Can you provide me with a copy of the Neighbourhood Watch logo?

A. We are still working on the licensing process for the updated Neighbourhood Watch logo (unveiled on 3 December 2015) and once this has been finalised we will get in touch with each force to start the process of granting licences. Until this point we are unable to provide copies of the logo and request that you do not use the updated Neighbourhood Watch logo.

Q. Can you provide any hard copy resources for Neighbourhood Watch coordinators?

A. NHWN doesn’t hold any hard copy resources centrally at present. Any such resources, where they are available, are usually organised by the force area Neighbourhood Watch Association. If this changes we will update the FAQ accordingly.

Q. We are thinking about introducing ID cards for Neighbourhood Watch coordinators; what are your views on this idea?

A. NHWN doesn’t support the idea of ID cards for Neighbourhood Watch coordinators because they could be open to misuse. We have no objection to local areas using ID cards if they wish, but it is not something that we would lend our support to or roll out nationally.

Q. What does the Neighbourhood Watch Public Liability Insurance cover?

A. You can read more information about the Public Liability Insurance cover here.

Q. How are Neighbourhood Watch schemes marked as ‘verified by the police’ on your postcode search?

A. Only police staff in areas that hold a Neighbourhood Alert licence can mark schemes as ‘verified by the police’ on the postcode search. You can find out if your area is one of them by clicking here and scrolling down to the final FAQ.

Q. If I send you some information, can you circulate it to Neighbourhood Watch members in my area or more widely?

A. NHWN doesn’t communicate directly to Neighbourhood Watch members. Our communications go through force level Associations, so we advise you to contact your Association instead.

Q. Can I put a news story on your website?

A. It depends what it is! If you have an interesting piece of news for us, contact us and let us know – we always welcome hearing what is going on in various parts of England and Wales.

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