Growth in membership, reducing the number of victims of crime and anti-social behaviour and a new image is all on the cards for the largest crime fighting movement across England and Wales.
Neighbourhood and Home Watch volunteers came together in a series of workshops and events hosted by the national charity, Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network (NHWN), to discuss their ambitions for the future of the movement for the next five years. Aspirations included making the benefits of joining clearer and better than ever before and expanding schemes into neighbourhoods which previously had been difficult to engage. Discussions on bringing virtual and physical communities together was also highlighted, with plans to enhance the existing online scheme search and database.
New and emerging crimes were also highlighted as a priority for the movement, seeing a marked change from the stereotyped perception that Neighbourhood Watch just tackles domestic burglary. Keeping safe online, rural crime and community resilience were all flagged as new areas of growth for volunteers.
The charity has released their five year strategy, which is supported by the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).
Jim Maddan OBE, chairman for the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network said, “It gives me great pleasure to launch the new 5 year strategy for the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network. We have come a long way since our first such document in 2010 and although there have been one or two hiccups along the way, our primary objectives have been met.
“We could never have predicted the exponential rise in the use of new technologies and social media. We have had to adapt and change along the way. It is an exciting time and we have grasped the opportunities with both hands and we look forward with enthusiasm and vigour to the years ahead.”
DCC Michael Banks, NPCC lead for Citizens in Policing said in support of the movement, “The Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network is a first class organisation and a great example of citizens involved in social action to protect their own communities. As a police service we are proud to be associated with NHWN and our respective organisations will continue to support each other to broaden and deepen the involvement of our citizens in such a noble cause.”
Julia Mulligan, PCC for North Yorkshire said, “I have seen first-hand the tangible difference Watch schemes can make in local communities. There are countless examples of crimes being prevented, offenders being caught and communities being better informed about protecting themselves and their homes. I would encourage anyone interested in the safety of their community to sign up and become a member. Lastly, a big thank you to all those who volunteer at the moment.”