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Home Watch

Fact Sheet

Homewatch logoResidents of a community possess a very specialised knowledge of their neighbourhood that even the proverbial "village bobby" would take years to acquire. A police officer might not even recognise someone in your garden as a stranger, but a neighbour would. This is what Home Watch is about.

Some residents think they shouldn't ring the police when they see something suspicious going on at a neighbour's house. They don't want anyone to think they're being nosey, prying around net curtains at other people's business. In Home Watch the residents all agree that they want each other to be vigilant as far as crime is concerned. If you have the phone number of the man next door and you ring him at work to check that a removal firm should be clearing his house, who wouldn't be grateful?

The role of the Co-ordinator

It is important that members appreciate that the police do not wish to run Home Watch Schemes. Whilst they will render every assistance in starting and supporting a scheme, it is fundamentally the members who will run it.

The success of a scheme is often dependent on the enthusiasm of its Co-ordinator. The Co-ordinator is someone who is prepared to act as the central pivot but recognises that work must be shared, so that all members feel they have a role to play.

Although the Co-ordinator's duties will depend on the assistance offered by scheme members, his or her duties are basically:

  • To encourage full participation in your scheme amongst residents;
  • To circulate information received from the police to residents - and vice versa;
  • To organise and attend local Home Watch meetings;
  • To liaise with the Area Co-ordinator, if your neighbourhood has one.

The next stage

If you want to start a scheme, decide on the area to be covered. There are no hard and fast rules over the number of homes involved, although on average, it tends to be between 10 and 20 houses. The size is entirely up to the Co-ordinator as he or she is the one that will probably have to visit every house several times! The geography of the area may also decide for you (a cul-de-sac, block of flats, or a section or road between two junctions, etc).

The first job is to canvass your neighbours to see if there is sufficient interest. If you have a good response, contact your Watch Scheme Administrator to arrange an evening for him or her to give a talk to everyone. The meeting can be in a local hall, school or in someone's front room. You may not be able to fix a date to suit everyone; just arrange the meeting with the Watch Administrator and he or she will give you invitation cards to pop through letterboxes.

You will probably have a hundred or more questions about Home Watch:

  • Does it cost anything? (no, unless you want street signs);
  • How do we get street signs?
  • How do I mark property? And so on.

The Watch Administrator will explain all this at the meeting, so don't worry, you've nearly completed the hardest part!

If you want to start a scheme (or find out if one exists in your area) ring the Watch Scheme Administrator at your local Police Station, on 0161 872 5050 (direct).