Safer Neighbourhoods Stronger Communities

How Does Neighbourhood Watch Work Best?

It is important that the people who are part of a Neighbourhood Watch understand what it is about and what role they are expected to play. It's best if this is clear from the outset. It's also great if you can involve everyone in deciding how the NW will work and what its purpose is.

Hold a meeting

One way to do this is to have an initial meeting.  At the meeting you can discuss any issues that are common to the group, and make decisions based on the needs of the members.  That way, people feel involved and engaged and are more likely to contribute to the success of the Watch.

You should try to arrange your meeting at a time and in a venue that is suitable and convenient for the majority of attendees.  This is not always easy!  You could try local community halls, church halls, police stations or fire stations to see if you can get the use of a room at a reasonable rate (or for free).

You may wish to contact the police or local authority to ask for a representative to be present at your meeting to answer any questions you may have.

Find what works for you

It may not always be possible or convenient to hold a meeting.  In this case, you should find a way of communicating with your group that is most suited to their needs.  This could be via an already established newsletter (e.g. Tenant & Residents Association, Housing Association), an online discussion forum, a Facebook page, WhatsApp group or a telephone tree/buddy system.

What should your group do?

Some questions to consider:

  • Why do we wish to set up a NW scheme in the area?
  • What are the aims of our NW scheme?
  • What are our local concerns?
  • What can we do to address these concerns?
  • Who will we need to work with/what help do we need?
  • How can we all contribute to making our community safer?

Some initial objectives for the group could include:

  • Identifying the name of the scheme
  • Identifying a co-ordinator(s) / main contact
  • Agreement on longer term objectives for the scheme
  • Agreement on local concerns and required activities to address these concerns
  • Determining how you are going to communicate – meetings, newsletter, by phone, e-mail, Facebook, WhatsApp, text message, word of mouth etc.
  • Considering how you will fund activities like producing newsletters, acquiring signs or booking meeting venues if these are deemed necessary.
  • Deciding if your Neighbourhood Watch should be constituted?

Once everyone knows why the group is there and what is expected of them as members, it will be easier to take things forward.