Harlow Neighbourhood Watch
Neighbourhood Watch schemes began in the 1970s, as the police and local communities began to realise that one way of reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in their areas was to develop a network of local people who acted as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community’, looking out for suspicious activity and acting as a link between the community and the police.
Below we answer some common questions you may have about Harlow Neighbourhood Watch.
How is Harlow Neighbourhood Watch run?
Harlow Neighbourhood Watch is a membership organisation. A Committee is elected annually to run the scheme. Currently the main officers are:
Chair: Tony Carey
Secretary and Baseball Co-ordinator: Paul Wadley
Treasurer: Mike Ruocco.
The local Crime Reduction Officer Graham Anthony and Colin Freeman, West Essex Neighbourhood C0-ordinator, also attend our regular meetings.
Do you have premises in the town?
Not at the moment.
How are you funded?
We get an annual grant from Essex Police via Essex County Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Our insurance for Public and Employee Liability are within the national insurance policy provided by Towergate Insurance.
What is involved if you become a member?
If you become a volunteer member, all we ask is that you act as a ‘pair of eyes and ears’, keeping a look-out for any suspicious or unusual activity, and keeping the police informed about any crime or anti-social behaviour in the area. You’ll be supported in this by your Committee, by the Police, and by Harlow Council’s ‘Community Safety Team’ and other staff.
There is no pressure, we just ask that you do what you can.
Sometimes we may distribute crime prevention and other leaflets, and if you can give some assistance with this, that would be helpful.
Please look at the Harlow Neighbourhood Watch website: www.harlowneighbourhoodwatch.co.uk for further information.
What about the police, do they always respond when you contact them?
Emergency calls go to 999 and are always dealt with urgently.
Non-urgent calls now go to the 101 number. These are prioritised by people in police call centres. Response times may vary, depending on how the call-handler assesses the situation, and of course the availability of front-line police officer when the call is made. Essex Police is undergoing a major re-structuring exercise during 2012. It remains to be seen how this will pan out, but we will work with the police to ensure that they respond as effectively and promptly as possible to all calls. Confidence in the police depends on them succeeding at this.
Where do Neighbourhood Police Officers, Community Police Safety Officers and Neighbourhood Action Panels come into all this?
Neighbourhood Police Officers and Community Police Safety Officers (CPSOs) have been established to provide what are colloquially called ‘bobbies on the beat’. They provide a visible and reassuring presence and can react quickly to trouble spots. As a member you will have the ’phone numbers of these officers to contact.
‘Neighbourhood Action Panels’ are regular meetings in each Council Ward in Harlow where members of the community can meet with local police officers (and sometimes Council staff) to discuss topical issues of concern.
What about repercussions if you report neighbours or local people who may be involved in crime or anti-social behaviour?
We cannot emphasise strongly enough that if you don’t report your concerns to the right people, things may not change. On the other hand, there is a small minority of difficult, disturbed, threatening or violent people who can make life unpleasant or even dangerous. The police, Council officials and others who are there to help will try to do so, but sometimes they may not live up to expectations. In these circumstances we will take up matters ourselves with the relevant agencies, in the hope that effective action can be taken.
What if I want to join, or have some more questions?
Please register on the national website, www.ourwatch.org.uk. By doing this you will have access to a resource centre that includes a variety of templates you can down load and personalise them to attract your neighbours and local residents into joining your schem. The national website provides useful information from around the country, tips, hints and suggestions about how to make a local neighbourhood watch scheme successful.
Please contact in the first instance, either Paul Wadley (Secretary) or Mike Ruocco (Treasurer), and we’ll be pleased to talk to you.
From the Committee of Harlow Neighbourhood Watch www.harlowneighbourhoodwatch.co.uk