Revised New Watch Setup Process for ‘Independent’ Force Level Neighbourhood Watch Associations
Describe your best practice
The process provides Force Area Neighbourhood Watch Associations, that no longer have the support of dedicated police staff, with a method of setting up and validating New Watches and also ensuring proposed coordinators are accepted and approved by the New Watch members.
What did you do and why?
The new process was developed as a result of the withdrawal of police support staff who had, until then, set up all New Watches in the county.
There was previously a perception that the police ‘appointed’ and approved or vetted all new Neighbourhood Watch coordinators. Without the police resources Neighbourhood Watch Associations have no way of vetting potential coordinators. The process therefore relies on the residents of the new Neighbourhood Watch area: agreeing the need for a New Watch; demonstrating their willingness to become involved; and, demonstrating their acceptance and approval of the proposed coordinator.
The Neighbourhood Watch Association provides the New Watch with full support during the setup process and offers to cover non-recurring setup costs.
Duration of the project
The process began in early 2018. It took about three months of development and was trialed during April 2018. It is now ongoing, being kept under review and amended as required based on use and feedback from users.
What worked well?
The process has generally been very well accepted by potential new coordinators and their neighbours. Between April 2018 and April 2019, it has been involved in the setting up of over 30 New Watches. The communities concerned have been, and felt, much more involved in the decision to have a Neighbourhood Watch, and in the setting up of their Watch.
How did you overcome any challenges?
Workshops were held to define the process and to attempt to predict what problems may be encountered. During the development and trial period feedback was listened to and acted upon leading to revisions of the process. For the process to be accepted it had to be attractive to potential users and they must have a sense of ownership.
How did you cover any costs?
The development ‘costs’ were predominantly voluntary manpower. Ongoing monetary cost are limited to non-recurring set up costs. These are being covered from a grant from the local Police and Crime Commissioner.
Force/ Borough area