Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration: the ‘ideas generator’ for the future
Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration, a collection of the most innovative work being undertaken by Watch volunteers, has been launched by the NWN.
The database contains examples of how Neighbourhood Watch groups are changing their communities for the better. In each case, volunteers explain how they developed their project, the impact it had on their community and how they overcame any challenges.
Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration allows users to contact the author of the good practice allowing for fruitful conversations between members across England and Wales.
The database was launched to mark the start of Neighbourhood Watch Week 2019, which this year ran from 17 – 23 June and had the theme of #MoreThanYouExpect. It is hoped that the examples contained within the database will give a broader sense of the impact schemes can have on communities that adopt them.
Robin Newman, Head of Membership and Engagement at the NWN, managed the project with the help of a working group made up of Watch coordinators.
“We hope to inspire and enthuse people about what can be achieved through local Neighbourhood Watch schemes”, he said. “Our volunteers are working on projects that deal with, among other things, knife violence and loneliness. Areas not traditionally associated with our organisation but areas in which we can have a huge impact.
“Since starting work at NWN a year ago, I have spoken with dozens of volunteers who have innovative ideas on how to deliver Neighbourhood Watch. We have been learning from this and want to enable other Watches across England and Wales to do the same. Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration is the conversation starter and ideas generator allowing members to develop and improve their schemes.”
The NWN is encouraging its members to submit more examples to Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration by filling in an online form on the website. It is hoped that the database will be a cornerstone of learning within the Neighbourhood Watch movement.
Access Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration at: www.ourwatch.org.uk/inspiration
Promotional posters unveiled Posters featuring real life
Neighbourhood Watch members have been unveiled to mark 2019 Neighbourhood Watch Week.
The A3 posters detail why three members (Cheryl, Raza and Susan) think Neighbourhood Watch is important. Cheryl says educating children about the dangers of knives is why she got involved while Raza says it was a great way to make friends in the community. Susan skewers the curtain twitcher stereotypes saying that her neighbours are there for when she needs help.
Although produced for NW Week the posters are not time sensitive and so can be used for promotional events throughout the year. They can be downloaded from the national website here.
Book your spot at the the summer seminars
Dates have been announced for the 2019 Neighbourhood Watch Network summer seminar series.
In a whistle top tour, the Central Support Team will visit Leeds, Cardiff and London during the first week of August to update and hear from coordinators and association leads.
The seminars will include briefings and workshops on Neighbourhood Watch IT, the national offer and good practice. There will also be an opportunity for coordinators to socialise with one another as well as hear about innovative work from across the movement.
To book your place at one of the events, please email your full name, force/borough association (if known), contact details and any dietary requirements to the corresponding email address below:
Leeds: 6 August 2019
Clayton Hotel, Sweet Street, City Walk, Leeds LS11 9AT
Cardiff: 8 August 2019
Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, Mary Ann Street, Cardiff, Wales CF10 2JH
London: 9 August 2019 Browns Covent Garden, 82-84
St. Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4AG
Scouts and Neighbourhood Watch join forces
This year’s Neighbourhood Watch week saw the conclusion of a unique initiative in Northamptonshire between the Scouts and Neighbourhood Watch.
Over eight weeks, Towcester Neighbourhood Watch has been working with the 1st Towcester Scouts (Crusaders) on their Community Impact badge that has been specifically designed to encourage Scouts to take practical action in the service of others to create positive social change.
The partnership began with a presentation on the background to Neighbourhood Watch and an open discussion and break-out session covering three themes: what is acceptable behaviour; what is not acceptable behaviour, and ideas for a safer town and community.
The next stage was a walkabout around Towcester interviewing local residents with a survey based on our themes and the opportunity for the Scouts to discover examples of unacceptable behaviour.
“Working with the Scouts has been really rewarding”, says the chair of Towcester Neighbourhood Watch Nick King. “They have been enthusiastic and creative with our partnership and came up with all sorts of ideas around our three themes. The highlight for me was the short film they produced where they professionally presented their findings and some excellent suggestions for a safer community from our young generation.”
A competition to design a Youth Neighbourhood Watch logo was won by 13 year old Ted Leeson. Watch the film here
Award for members
Merseyside Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators Lynn Fairclough and Catherine Murphy received awards from their Chief Constable to mark this year’s Volunteer Week.
They were awarded for their “commitment, dedication and support as a valued and recognised member of citizens’ in policing”. Congratulations Lynn and Catherine!
A Neighbourhood Watch group that campaigned for a disused layby to be turned into a beautiful community pocket park is featured in a new Co-op film.
The three minute film is part of the Co-operate 2022 campaign which is aims to save, improve and protect 2,000 public spaces over the next three years. According to the Coop, over 16,000 community gathering points are under threat.
The Pocket Park project in Walthamstow, east London was the perfect example of a community based project where a Neighbourhood Watch group has helped reclaim a public space for residents.
Visit our website to watch the film, find out more about the campaign and tell us if there is a space you want to save, improve and protect: www.coop.co.uk/communities/endangered-spaces
Neighbourhood Watch Week 2019 celebrated the diverse array of work Watch volunteers do to improve their communities. The official campaign hashtag (#MoreThanYouExpect) was designed to be an inclusive catch all for the vast array of issues that Watch volunteers help tackle - some more expected than others. The centre-piece was the launch of Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration. During the week, we highlighted some examples of how our volunteers are improving their communities...
Isolation tackled head on by social Watch coordinators
Each month, more than 200,000 adults go without speaking to a friend or relative. This shocking statistic from Age UK puts the epidemic of social isolation in stark perspective. As well as it being a particularly cruel affliction of modern-day life where the hectic 24/7 bustle of metropolitan living easily purges those small, kindly neighbourly acts - like popping in for a cup of tea - from the regular routine, social isolation has a corresponding public safety angle. People who are socially isolated are more likely to become the victims of crime themselves. Scammers, in particular, focus on isolated people as they make for easier targets.
It’s why Neighbourhood Watch prides itself on being much more than a crime prevention movement. As many coordinators will tell you, it’s all about community.
“I am passionate about getting neighbours speaking to each other”, says Northampton coordinator Neil Bartholomey whose scheme covers 44 houses on the close where he lives. “At the very least people should know the names of their closest neighbours. I arrange a summer barbeque each year and everyone is invited. I bring the food, they bring the drink. It’s great fun and helps get different neighbours talking. More people come each year.”
It’s not just the social isolation Neil is helping to tackle. He’s also ensuring neighbours do not become stranded in their homes when it snows. The close is on a curbed slope which becomes hazardous during winter. He salts and clears the drives of people who are unable to do it themselves.
“We’re more than just a Watch – we’re a real community”, he says proudly.
Jackie West is a coordinator of a scheme in Clacton-on-sea in Essex. “When someone new moves in, I introduce myself, let them know what’s happening in the area and where everything is”, says Jackie. “I’ll get them to join Neighbourhood Watch as well if I can.”
Making sure there are plenty of social activities for neighbours to get involved with ensures that there is less chance of somebody becoming socially isolated. Jackie oversees a hive of activity. “I’ve organised trips for residents to the pantomime, theater, garden centers or even just to the coffee shop. It all helps to keep everyone social and engaged.”
Over 40 of the 60 bungalows in the development are part of the Neighbourhood Watch. If she knows someone is under the weather, Jackie will check in on them or ensure a neighbour know to do so.
“Without being a nuisance or a gossip”, says Jackie. “I hope to make a difference”.
Coordinators like Neil and Jackie are making sure there is a fun, social side to Neighbourhood Watch which is great to see. For ideas on how to connect people in your community consult Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration, a collection of innovative work taking place across the Neighbourhood Watch movement.
Coordinators performing home visits after burglaries
Neighbourhood Watch coordinators are visiting burgled homes in Cambridgeshire to give residents advice and signpost them to support services in a trial scheme, it can be revealed.
The visits began in December 2018 by Police approved coordinators and there have been no reports of the homes being re-burgled after the visits. This is a pivotal sign of success, Neighbourhood Watch says, as burgled homes are regularly re- targeted by the same criminals because they know residents will have replaced stolen items with brand new goods after insurance claims have been paid out.
Robin Sutton, chair of Neighbourhood Watch in Cambridgeshire, said: “The scheme has been a great success and demonstrates how Neighbourhood Watch is actively helping to make communities safer and more resilient to crime. The home visits are in no way a replacement for the police. They are an additional way for a community to look out for one another when a neighbour has been the victim of crime.
“Our coordinators go in, ask what happened, signpost the victims to support services, and give out simple and practical advice about how to minimise the chances of another burglary. A large part of the visit is about being a good listener. Burglaries are awfully stressful for victims as they are left feeling shaken and unsafe in their own homes.”
After visiting one burglary victim, Mr Sutton was able to locate CCTV images from a nearby hairdresser which clearly identified the burglar. The images were passed over to Cambridgeshire Police.
There is a focus on ‘process’ to the visits says Mr Sutton. Coordinators must attend Police training and call the Police Control Centre before and after every visit to ensure their safety.
Mr. Sutton wants to develop the project further by creating a full checklist for volunteers and is looking at extending the home visits to educate residents about scams that have been reported locally.
Projects like this are outlined in Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration, an online database of the most innovative work being undertaken by Watch volunteers. For more information visit: www.ourwatch.org.uk/inspiration
Older people being ‘groomed’ by scammers
Older people targeted by criminals in mail-based scams are being ‘groomed’ by perpetrators say Neighbourhood Watch who are today calling for accurate language to be used when talking about this type of fraud.
The NWN says the process older people are subjected to when being scammed out of their savings has similarities to the insidious and manipulative techniques practiced by child grooming gangs.
Newly widowed individuals, often at their most vulnerable, are targeted with false promises of friendship and wealth by scammers.
The effects of fraud upon older people can be devastating. A victim of doorstep crime is 2.5 times more likely to either die or end up in care within two years compared to their ‘non-scammed’ neighbours, according to research from the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers.
John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of NWN, said: “Many view mail scams targeted at older people as a low-level crime but the impact it has on victims can literally be a matter of life and death. It destroys people’s confidence and independence beginning a spiral downwards. By describing the process accurately - that older people are being groomed into giving over huge amount of money to serious, hardened criminals – it communicates the seriousness of the crime far more powerfully.
“We still don’t know the full extent of the problem as many older people say they feel embarrassed or even ashamed to report they have been scammed. They shouldn’t feel guilty at all. They have been targeted by sophisticated criminals who build a powerful emotional relationship with victims in order to convince them to hand over money.”
Julie Derbyshire, a photographic artist, has created a new body of work exploring the impact of scams which was recently exhibited in London at a solo exhibition entitled Possession. Julie was inspired to do this after her bereaved mother was targeted by mail scammers soon after her husband died.
“At her most vulnerable, she was inundated with letters promising her a world of wealth if she paid a small sum up front”, says Ms. Derbyshire. “This went on for at least five years and she lost most of her savings”.
“My mother began spending excessively beyond her means on products she didn’t require, and which served no function. When my sister and I told her we were concerned, we became the enemy. The people at the other end of these letters, promising all sorts, had become her ‘friends’. It was insidious.”
Among the pieces of artwork Ms. Derbyshire has created is a cascade of porcelain envelopes symbolizing the volume and relentlessness of correspondence victims receive.
The charity is developing a variety of tools for engagement to enable a community powered response to tackling fraud. For example, a ‘talk about fraud’ programme is being delivered by Neighbourhood Watch to over 65s in Buckinghamshire to encourage people to speak up if they have any concerns.
Louise Baxter MBE, Manager National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team, said: “The tactics used by criminals often leave victims socially isolated and ashamed of telling their friends and families what’s really going on behind closed doors. The scams prevention toolkit on the Neighborhood Watch website is an excellent tool to empower people to take a stand against scams.
“We are proud to be working in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch to help raise awareness within their community. Once the volunteers and coordinators have received our Friends Against Scams training, they will be able to help spot and support the people in their neighbourhood that are most susceptible to falling for scams.
“Importantly, we urge people to report suspected scams. Only five per cent of scams are reported, so if you or someone you know does spot a scam you should report it to the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.”
A scams prevention toolkit has also been launched by the charity to support people who could be vulnerable to fraudsters. The NWN is encouraging its members to share this resource with friends and family who they may be feel are at risk. It can be found here.
Nominate a Police Volunteer for a Lord Ferrers Award
Nominations are open for the 26th annual Lord Ferrers Awards, which celebrate the exceptional achievements of volunteers in policing.
The awards recognise the commitment and dedication shown by special constables, police support volunteers, volunteer police cadets and volunteers within offices of Police and Crime Commissioners.
There are individual and team awards across 10 categories. Last year, more than 700 nominations were submitted and 53 outstanding candidates were shortlisted.
Last year’s winners included the Unmanned Aerial Support Group in Wiltshire Police - the only drone team in the UK run completely by volunteers. They use drones to support searches for missing people, air crashes and crowd disorder Policing minister Nick Hurd said: “The Lord Ferrers Awards are an opportunity to recognise the contribution policing volunteers make to keep our country safe.
“They all make a real difference, strengthening the links between the police and their communities, and bringing skills and experience from outside policing. “For the police officers and staff who have worked with volunteers, and for the members of the public who have been supported by police volunteers – now is your chance to nominate those who deserve to be recognised for the important work they do.”
The awards were previously known as the Special Constable and Police Support Volunteer Awards. They were created in 1993 by former Home Office minister Lord Ferrers and were renamed in his memory in 2013.
An awards ceremony for winners will take place in October 2019. Nominations close at midnight on Monday 15 July and can be submitted via an online form here.
Associations set to benefit from new self-assessment tool
Neighbourhood Watch Associations are set to benefit from a new self-assessment tool enabling them to make an informed assessment of how they are performing.
Developed by NWN, the tool sets out five potential levels at which an Association could be functioning in each of a range of areas that support NW activity.
Members of Force Area, Borough and District / Area NW associations are invited to use the tool to identify both strengths and areas for development in the way they work together and with their partners.
Associations can then use the tool to develop an action plan to help them best support their coordinators and grow and diversity the Neighbourhood Watch movement – a key aim of the organisation’s three-year strategy.
Jayne Pascoe, Head of Projects and Partnerships at the NWN, spearheaded the project.
“We began by identifying the general functions of an Association and matched these with the activities coordinators undertake that Associations have a role in supporting”, she said.
“The different levels are designed to enable the Associations to think about where their priorities are and how they might improve against them – they are not designed to make any judgement about how good the Association is.
“For instance, an Association that does not run any campaigns locally may assess themselves as a level one in this area, whereas an Association using the NWN crime prevention toolkits to campaign may assess themselves as a level five.
“However, if the Association does not currently have the capacity to run campaigns, they may be happy to remain at level one for the time being and work on improving against other priorities.
“While Associations are welcome to share their results with the Central Support Team, their peers or their local partners to identify and source support for improvement plans, there is no requirement to do so. Associations can use the tool however they see fit.”
The tool was trialled at Merton NW Association in South London. “It’s very comprehensive”, says its manager Lee Roberts. “It was a bit of an eye opener to be honest.”
Merton’s self-assessment revealed that while many of its committee members did not have defined roles the use of the tool assisted to enthuse them as it helped them to identify many areas where they could get involved and help shape the future of NW in their community.
The positive feedback continued with Cambridgeshire chair Robin Sutton saying that the tool gave him an ‘enormous confidence boost’ as a relative newcomer to the role.
A working group of members from across NWN helped to refine the tool, give feedback and to illustrate ways it could be used. For instance, Associations could run seminars with their members focused on elements of the assessment or different Associations could share their assessments with each other to learn more about one another.
Jayne Pascoe concluded: “This is a tool for Associations to use as they fit, to mould their activity around local priorities and ensure Neighbourhood Watch is delivering for local communities.”
The self assessment tool can be accessed via the national Our Watch website at: www.ourwatch.org.uk/associations-set-to-benefit-from-self-assessment-tool/