In 2009 Wycombe District Neighbourhood Watch Association in Thames Valley obtained a grant of £2000 to support their increased engagement with the Muslim community in Castlefield and Oakridge in High Wycombe.
Presentation meetings were held at community locations, Neighbourhood Watch signs were erected and window stickers provided.
Tables were manned at Friday lunch times to coincide with prayer times at the three main mosques. A great many friends were made, crime prevention advice was given and leaflets were handed out.
We had feedback that our presence outside the mosques was well received, and the advice we shared was often broadcast within the mosques. Some Coordinators were recruited from within the community but our impact was limited and we wanted to extend the reach of the crime prevention advice and activity that Neighbourhood Watch could provide beyond the events we had arranged and the work of the coordinators who had signed up.
To take this aspiration forward, the Neighbourhood Watch Association has recently worked with the Committee for these three main mosques to look at different engagement models for Neighbourhood Watch that would reach a wider audience.
The model agreed by all is to have a senior mosque official for each of these three main mosques signed up as a Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator.
Each Mosque Coordinator passes on information about crime affecting the local community and shares crime prevention advice to all their regular attendees (between 300 and 1000 people) during the announcements after the services.
Neighbourhood Watch will continue to have tables outside the mosques when possible, and be invited into the mosques occasionally to make presentations to maintain our liaison and strengthen our engagement with the community.
In this way we aim to ensure that the benefits of Neighbourhood Watch will reach a significantly larger part of the Wycombe community.