Press release: 06th October 2022
You may have heard of Neighbourhood Watch or seen their logo on street signs and neighbour's windows. But do you really know what they do?
The first groups began in the UK 40 years ago in response to a spate of burglaries in areas across the country. They were the voice of communities working with the police to make criminals' jobs harder. But that was 40 years ago. Today you will recognise their name and see their signs on streets, but do you know if they are 'still a thing'? And if so, do you know what they actually do?
John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Network, said, "It sounds cliché but what we do today really is very simple. Just as we always have, we help people feel safe and connected.
John continues, "We do this through our incredible army of volunteers embedded within diverse communities across England and Wales. I'm talking about your nan's best friend, your corner shop owner, your neighbour, or your dog walker. They are the people on the ground caring for their community and making a difference. They are an integral part of all our neighbourhoods, which means they know the unique things in their neighbourhood that need to happen to help people feel more connected and safer; and that is how we have remained a constant in people's lives despite enormous changes around us over the past 40 years."
In some communities, Neighbourhood Watch volunteers still remain the bridge between the police and the residents; in others, they are the community organisers arranging street clean-ups or get-togethers.; in others, they are a vital source of information supporting people to know where to go for help or how to keep themselves safe. Whilst exactly what they do varies depending on what is needed, Neighbourhood Watch volunteers all have one thing in common: a desire to make things better.
Neighbourhood Watch groups, such as in Keyham in Plymouth, were integral in supporting their community through a violent shooting. Groups in Cumbria are integral in the county’s flood responses and in targeting rural crime, and groups in Oxford are honing in on bike thefts. Groups in Peterborough, Gloucestershire and Kent are focusing on tackling drug dealing, and Surrey Heath on reducing car crimes.
Whilst each Neighbourhood Watch group uniquely support their neighbours, streets and towns or villages, they also work as one body to respond to crises on a national scale. Most recently, they helped communities through the relentless covid-19 crisis and now the threat of the cost-of-living crisis.
Volunteers are supported by the national body, Neighbourhood Watch Network (NWN), which this year celebrated Recognition Awards with over 3,000 volunteers – 43 of whom had been volunteering for 40 years.
NWN provided 8,000 hours of training and support to volunteers and developed new and strong partnerships, with Deliveroo, to deliver safety training to 3,000 of their riders.
They joined forces with Airbnb as part of a safety alliance, and delivered an award-winning Neighbour of the Year campaign with Co-op Insurance and a new Student Watch safety initiative.
They ran a joint burglary campaign with ERA, and partnered with Avast to roll out their Cyberhood Watch initiative keeping people safer online. Their digital campaigns on burglary, antisocial behaviour, scams, cybercrime, car crime and dog theft reached over 3 million people on social media.
John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Network, said, "We are proud of our achievements but couldn't have done what we have without our incredible volunteers. We want to say a massive thank you to every Joe, Dave, Sonia, Martin, Chris, Gill, Daisy, Arif, Derek, Violet, Maggie, Kardaya, and all those whose names are too many to mention for making a difference to people's lives. We are making this a better place to live. Together."
To learn more about the difference Neighbourhood Watch is making in people's lives, visit ourwatch.org.uk/impact.
Notes to Editor
- Spokespeople are available for interviews on this story. Contact Deborah Waller on 07495 415380 or Deborah.email@example.com for more information.
- More information about Neighbourhood Watch, including how to join or register a scheme, is available at ourwatch.org.uk and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn
About Neighbourhood Watch: Neighbourhood Watch was founded in 1982 and is the largest voluntary movement focused on crime prevention in England and Wales. Over 2.3 million people belong to local schemes supported by voluntary Associations. Neighbourhood Watch Network is an independent charity (registered in England and Wales 1173349) that acts as the movement's national umbrella organisation. Membership in Neighbourhood Watch schemes is open to all and is free, although donations may be requested by local groups. Neighbourhood Watch's website address is ourwatch.org.uk, and the charity can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.