What is the involvement of the police in Neighbourhood Watch?
- Neighbourhood Watch in Surrey Heath is run by volunteers.
- It is not a Police-led organisation.
- Surrey Police work in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch volunteers who operate across the Borough in an effort to make their communities safer and stronger.
- Surrey Police will respond to any call made via 999 (urgent) or 101 (non-urgent).
- Surrey Police has a duty to alert Neighbourhood Watch members of any crime alerts or general crime trends in their neighbourhood. In Surrey Heath, these crime alerts are passed within 24 hours to the Watch Coordinator in the area of the crime.
From time to time the Crime Reduction Officer sends out a bulletin on crime trends and what can be done to prevent them happening to you.
- A Watch Coordinator can keep members informed by circulating the police crime reports and crime prevention bulletins to their members for which they have an email contact address.
- They are also required to circulate the quarterly newsletter for Surrey Heath, HeathWatch. Some Watch Coordinators slip a short newsletter details recent events and future activities in their Watch into HeathWatch before they distribute it.
- When most of the members are in email contact the flow of communication is more two-way with members informing each other of suspicious incidents or anti-social behaviour or warning of, for example, potentially noisy activities. If many of your members do not have an email address, one solution is to produce a distribution list of names and addresses and circulate the crime report or bulletin to the first address asking them to pass it on to the next address when they have read it. By placing your address at the bottom of the list you will know that the information has been circulated to all members when it is returned to you.
- The interest of members can be sustained through regular communication such as meetings or newsletters.
- Members can be supplied with Neighbourhood Watch stickers for doors and windows, incident report cards and other Neighbourhood Watch material.
- Non-participating neighbours can be encouraged to join the Watch or at least agree to keep the Watch Coordinator advised of incidents within the Watch area.
- Watch Coordinators can offer to assist the Area Coordinator with leaflet dropping in order to help set up new Watches in neighbouring streets.
- A Watch Coordinator (and/or their Deputy) needs to commit to attend the quarterly Watch Coordinator’s meetings and to onward distribute HeathWatch and other mailings from Surrey Police etc. This should take no more than 12 hours per annum.
- Other activities, to extend the coverage of their watch and to involve new neighbours will be expected and the time assigned will be at the discretion of the Watch Coordinator.
- The appointment of a Deputy can help share the effort.
- A watch will be considered inactive if:
- There is no representative from the Watch at the quarterly meetings for two or more consecutive meetings
- HeathWatch is not collected (from the quarterly meeting or from the library)
- And there is no communication with the Area Coordinator to update him/her on the position.
- In such cases, the Area Coordinator will attempt to contact the Watch Coordinator and their Deputy and if no positive response is received, the Watch will be marked as inactive.
- The Area Coordinator will initiate a mail drop to the residents in the Road asking for a Watch Coordinator and if no one is forthcoming, the Watch will be closed. The residents will be informed by another mail drop and the signs removed.
It is the responsibility of the resident to notify their insurance company.
Free Third Party Public Liability Insurance (PLI) cover is available for Neighbourhood Watch in England and Wales. The Surrey Neighbourhood Watch Association is registered for PLI and the cover is renewed on an annual basis when a new estimate of the total number of Watches across the whole force is provided. This policy covers all existing and new Surrey Police recognised Neighbourhood Watches in the force and therefore individual watches or Borough/District organisations are not required to apply for a separate policy. A copy of the full policy is available on this website. It should be noted that the free PLI policy applies to third party liability only and therefore if a volunteer is acting on behalf of Neighbourhood Watch they cease to be regarded as a third party and they are not covered under the PLI insurance. If required, alternative employer’s liability or personal accident cover can be purchased as additional cover by individual Watches or associations.
- There are three Area Coordinators covering Surrey Heath. They represent all the Watches within their designated Areas, which are based on the police division of the Borough:
- Camberley North of the M3 (referred to as Camberley/Town),
- Camberley South of the M3 (referred to as Frimley)
- And the Six Villages (Bagshot, Bisley, Chobham, Lightwater, West End and Windlesham).
- The Coordinators are expected to be conscientious and pro-active with Watch Coordinators using their wide knowledge of Neighbourhood Watch and its special place in the crime prevention partnership
- They are members of the Surrey Heath Neighbourhood Watch Support Group where they are expected to contribute, pro-actively, to the many initiatives organised by the Support Group
- They promote Neighbourhood Watch, seek out potential Watch promoters for new Watches and follow up leads provided by the Safer Neighbourhood Teams in their area
- They try to find new representatives for established Watches that no longer have anyone to represent them
- They may also encourage other Watch Coordinators to assist with the expansion of Neighbourhood Watch in their area. Once a potential Watch promoter, has made an enquiry, usually to a neighbourhood police officer or the Crime Reduction Advisor, the Area Coordinator is expected to take on the task and responsibility of briefing the promoter. It would be made quite clear at this briefing that the Area Coordinator is working closely with the police, in partnership, and will support the promoter at all stages up to the formal presentation by the police officer with Neighbourhood Watch responsibility for the area. After the presentation, the Area Coordinator will advise on the formal registration of the Watch and the procedure for obtaining the Neighbourhood Watch street signs
Additional stickers and leaflets are available, although these may change from time to time. New members will be provided with these on joining. If the Watch Coordinator needs additional stickers they should contact their Area Coordinator for details.