What does an Association do?
An Association actively support scheme coordinators and members in their Force Area or London Borough. A Force Area is made up of the policing areas of England and Wales and not always a county. The reason for this is that forming effective relationships with our policing partners and working with your Office of Policing and Crime Commissioners is very important and many funding opportunities are also dealt with at Force level. Some police force areas cover a variant of two or three counties.
The work of an Association is very important as they will be the face of Neighbourhood Watch in their area.
It is run by a committee/Board of volunteer members, which are not only proactive, but also possess the correct skill set to enable them to achieve the goals of an Association effectively. This can be in the form of a charity and are independently run by their committee, although support is available from the Central Support Team.
What are the roles and responsibilities of an Association?
- Help new schemes set up (guide the new coordinators through the process).
- Actively support existing schemes and coordinators – this can be through providing signage and window stickers; training; attending local events; developmental help.
- Develop effective partnerships with PCCs and/or Policing Teams, councils and community groups.
- Fundraise and advise schemes how they can access fundraising opportunities.
- Promote and raise the profile of Neighbourhood Watch throughout the community, attracting potential.
- Maintain the database for their area (this is of individual members, schemes and coordinators, but only after a MSA agreement has been signed) There are various systems such as VisaV, OWL etc.
- Respond to, in a professional way, localised enquiries generated by members of the public, members, coordinators and partners.
- Adhere to the constitution and sign the Memorandum of Understanding for the association to be affiliated with Neighbourhood Watch Network.
- A clear visibility to the public and partners within your Force/Borough area is important. Therefore website, social media and communication channels should be used to enable this.
- To achieve tangible outcomes to projects that can be measured at a local and Force Area level.
- A clear understanding of the issues affecting their local areas and work closely with police and partners to achieve this.
- Work with police and partners to develop a joint delivery plan that reflects policing and community safety issues.
- Strategic planning to coincide with Neighbourhood Watch Network's 3 year strategy plan, within your local Force/Borough area.
- Encourage coordinators to demonstrate and promote the highest standards of behaviour.
- Ensure that coordinators and other local people involved in Neighbourhood Watch are representative of the local people in the area.
- Have clear direction for the coordinators.
- Promote a broad range of partnership activity to prevent crime in high crime areas.
- Know who your coordinators and members are.
- Share effective practice with your coordinators as well as with the Central Support Team at Neighbourhood Watch Network and local press.
- Ensure that Neighbourhood Watch is represented on Safer Neighbourhood Boards & Community Safety Partnerships.
- Develop a communications plan.
- Encourage the use of our toolkits and other resources to deliver a campaign plan
Ensuring you have the right people in place
- The Association should have a committee/Board who will run the Association and develop it.
- The Board should have a varied range of expertise, skills and be representative of the communities it will serve.
- There should be a Chair appointed, who exhibits clear leadership and gets the best out of all Association committee members, working as a team.
- A Vice-Chair, a Secretary, a Treasurer is also the basic makeup of a committee, although you may wish to appoint an Events Manager, Fundraising Manager, Youth Liaison, Digital and Communications Manager etc. These are also dependent on the skills of the individuals and the needs of your community.
You have your committee/Board, so what to do now
- Review and agree the Constitution (see below) as a committee/Board.
- Contact members of Neighbourhood Watch in your area and ask if they would like to join an Association, if one were set up.
- For an Association to be valid you need to have a majority vote of coordinators within your Force/Borough area to agree to the constitution (many do this via email or Alert message to the members and send them the proposed constitution for them to agree).
- Once agreed, the constitution can be signed and an Association is formed.
- Elect your officers, either through a AGM or as an interim until a AGM can be arranged.
- Sign the Memorandum of Understanding (see below) and send back to us.
- Set up your bank account to ensure funding can be applied for (avoid delays).
- Using the Self-Assessment tool, look at what you would like to achieve as an Association and then develop a plan that is individual to your area using the action plan template.