What is Neighbourhood Watch?
Neighbourhood Watch is the largest voluntary crime prevention group in the country. It is based on the idea of communities coming together to reduce crime and increase community cohesion.
History of Neighbourhood Watch
Neighbourhood Watch was first introduced in the UK in 1982. Police Officers visiting Chicago USA saw the benefits that such schemes were having in the community and decided to pilot it in the UK. The first Neighbourhood Watch Scheme was launched in Mollington, Cheshire and after a successful trial was expanded throughout the country.
West Yorkshire Police launched Neighbourhood Watch in 1985 and since then it has gone from strength to strength. We now have over 6000 schemes across the county.
Benefits of Neighbourhood Watch
People join Neighbourhood Watch for many different reasons, whether it is to improve safety around their home or to become part of a group and meet new people. It is widely regarded that being part of Neighbourhood Watch can:
- Reduce / prevent local crime and disorder
- Reduce fear of crime
- Address issues relating to anti social behaviour
- Create safer neighbourhoods
- Build community spirit and cohesion
- Reassure members of the public
- Enhance partnership working with other community groups
- Assist in the detection and apprehension of criminals through members providing information to the police
- Improve quality of life and the local environment
How does Neighbourhood Watch work?
Neighbourhood Watch schemes vary in size and geographical area. Some schemes may consist of only a few houses covering a street or cul-de-sac, whilst others may extend to an entire estate. Residents meet on a regular basis either every couple of weeks or every month to discuss ways in which they can tackle low level problems relevant to their area. Neighbourhood Watch groups are not expected to act as anti vigilante groups patrolling the streets, but are encouraged to be attentive towards any suspicious behaviour. Neighbourhood Watch Schemes often run campaigns promoting crime prevention advice that can be adopted by the average household, such as fitting extra locks and making sure that windows and doors are locked at all times.
How to speak to your local Neighbourhood Watch
To speak to your local Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator please telephone Police Non-Emergency number 101 and ask to be connected to the Neighbourhood Watch Officer for your local area. Alternatively you can contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT), who will be happy to help. You can find and contact your local NPT by clicking this link www.westyorkshire.police.uk/npt
How to set up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
- Contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team (www.westyorkshire.police.uk/npt) to find out who your local Neighbourhood Watch Liaison Officer is, who can provide advice and assistance on setting up a scheme.
- Speak to your neighbours and find out whether other neighbours are interested in forming a Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) scheme. Whilst there is no official restriction on the number of households in a scheme, a successful scheme will operate with between 5 and 10 households.
- Arrange a meeting, inviting all those who want to be involved in Neighbourhood Watch. This could be at a designated home, community centre or even the pub. The NHW Liaison Officer or Police representative will be present at this initial meeting in order to explain how Neighbourhood Watch operates.
- Select a Co-ordinator for the NHW scheme, who will act as a point of contact with the Police.
For more information on the Neighbourhood Watch scheme visit http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/nhw#howdoesitwork