On Thursday 11 January 2024, Sussex Police and Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as they agreed to continue the collaboration between their organisations.
Neighbourhood Watch have a proud and proven history as a crime-fighting charity and have over 3,000 volunteer coordinators and deputies across the county. The Neighbourhood Watch schemes cover over 100,000 households in Sussex, providing a voice to residents, offering advice and information and conducting vital research.
Sussex Police and Neighbourhood Watch work together to maintain the Neighbourhood Alert system (also known as Sussex Alerts). The system which currently has over 29,000 subscribers across Sussex is crucial in delivering non-commercial messages from selected key information providers such as the police, Neighbourhood Watch Network, Action Fraud and Get Safe Online. The system also encourages recipients to reply to the alerts and messages.
The updated MoU outlines how Neighbourhood Watch will support Sussex Police to deliver on their top three priorities: protect communities, catch criminals and deliver an outstanding service to victims, witnesses and the public. It also sets out how Sussex Police will support and assist Neighbourhood Watch as an organisation, facilitating and maintaining engagement between volunteers and police officers, particularly with Sussex Police’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams.
In August last year, the Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation was funded over £25,000 by Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne. The funding is being used by Neighbourhood Watch to train more volunteers and further improve and enhance their communications systems, strengthening residents’ feelings of safety and improving access to crime prevention advice and important support services.
Attending the event, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne OBE said: “My office and Sussex Police work alongside so many dedicated volunteers who selflessly give their time, helping to make Sussex an even safer county.
“Neighbourhood Watch are an invaluable partner in this work. Their broad and diverse range of committed volunteers help us to reach every corner of our county, delivering important information, guidance and advice whilst helping to re-build public confidence in policing.”
Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Howard Hodges said: “It’s a great honour to have been able to sign this agreement, which builds upon the excellent working relationship already established between Sussex Police and Neighbourhood Watch, which is highly valued in the local community.”
John Wright MBE, Chair of the Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation, said: “Our previous MoU with Sussex Police was agreed in 2018, but things have moved on in the past 5 years, so it was appropriate for this to be updated.
“Effective two-way communications between the Police, Neighbourhood Watch and the public are very important. These enable the police to receive actionable intelligence, Neighbourhood Watch schemes across Sussex and other members of the public to be aware of recent incidents and trends and to receive crime prevention and community safety advice, always encouraging residents to come together, help each other and help to keep Sussex a safe place to be."
Derek Pratt MBE, Deputy Chair of the Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation, added: “Neighbourhood Watch has partnered Sussex Police for many years in maintaining the Neighbourhood Alert communications system, also referred to as Sussex Alerts, which anybody can sign up to free of charge, and receive timely updates on significant events in their area. This information is accurate and from reliable sources which can be trusted."
For more information about Sussex Neighbourhood Watch: www.sussexnwfed.org.uk.
To sign up to Sussex Alerts: Home Page - Sussex Alerts.
Written by Derek Pratt MBE, Deputy Chair of the Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation.