Steve Law December 2011
Ryedale, Scarborough, Whitby and Filey
Neighbourhood Watch Association
It has been produced to support you, as a Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator, in your commitment to improve the quality of life in your community by reducing crime and the fear of crime.
Feel free to treat this publication as a source of information and reference using as much or as little as you feel is appropriate to your scheme.
All of the material has been included with the intention of assisting you to carry out your role as a coordinator,
but please remember -
It is your scheme – you run it for the benefit of your community, your neighbours, family and friends.
The police and other organisations are there to support you.
Above all, enjoy your involvement with Neighbourhood Watch, ask for support when you need it. By working together we can continue to keep our communities, towns and villages safe and attractive places to live and work.
Neighbourhood Watch Schemes
The Neighbourhood Watch principle is not meant to be intrusive, quite the opposite.
It is meant to be reciprocal and is at its most effective when neighbours are not available to safeguard their own property themselves. Get into the habit of letting your neighbour know when you are going to be away and where you can be contacted should any emergency arise. This will sharpen your neighbour’s perception of any unusual activity associated with your property and will give you the peace of mind of knowing someone is keeping a weather eye on things for you while you are away. Each neighbour benefits in turn and eliminates the lapses that might otherwise arise in the security of his own property through absence.
Whatever arrangement you come to, don’t be tempted to volunteer information about the comings and goings of your neighbour or yourself to a total stranger. It is phrases like It’s no use knocking there, they are out at work all day that invite trouble.
The essence of neighbourly co-operation is knowing where to draw the line between interfering and concern.
Actively Promoting Interest
It is a fundamental belief that no crime-prevention scheme, however well organised, can enjoy lasting success unless its participants have an overriding desire to belong to a friendly, caring, lively community. We therefore accept the need to promote community interests as part of our overall responsibility and aim to co-operate fully with other organisations to ensure members’ needs are fully met.
Your participation in Neighbourhood Watch is lasting evidence you feel the same. Please do not hesitate to contact your Scheme coordinator or Chairman if you feel something extra can be done to assist you.
The primary function of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is to ensure a crime-free, secure environment.
Experience has shown that the best way to achieve this is to encourage each Neighbourhood Watch resident/member to:
Become responsive to the risk of crime
Effectively secure their own property against criminal intent.
Report all suspicious activity to the Police.
Act in concert with their fellow neighbours to protect each other’s property.
Actively promote a spirit of interest and participation throughout the whole community.
Responding to the Risk of Crime
Despite constant media reporting of increased levels of crime in the UK, it is seldom we relate this to our own home environment until we suffer the results of such activity ourselves. Then it is too late. The intrusion has taken place, irreplaceable personal items have been lost and our peace of mind shattered for many years to come.
Total awareness of risks involved is the best safeguard. Only with such knowledge can we hope to remain vigilant and alert.
We can only reduce crime and fear of crime by taking note of what is happening to others, and by our own actions ensure such things can never happen to us.
ALL SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES SHOULD
BE REPORTED TO THE POLICE
If you see someone breaking into a house or car
DIAL 999 AND ASK FOR THE POLICE
If the actions are less specific, e.g. an unknown person taking an unwarranted interest in someone else’s property
RING THE POLICE DIRECT ON 101
This will connect you to the NYP Force Control.
This is not locally based and you will have to give sufficient detail for the Operator to take the appropriate action.
Be prepared to:-
Identify yourself as a member of the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
Give your name, address, post code, and telephone number.
Provide an exact description of the activity you consider suspicious. Person / People / Property involved
Individual characteristics and distinguishing features
The possible criminal intent
Detail any motor vehicle implicated or suspected. Make / Colour / Type / Registration Number. Actual or potential direction of travel
Don’t be afraid that you may be wasting valuable police time if your call proves to be a false alarm.
The police would much rather check out all suspicious circumstances than miss an opportunity of preventing a crime actually taking place. You will not find yourself involved.
You will be just helping the police to be more effective at their job.
Neighbourhood Watch street signs are available to all properly registered schemes. Schemes are responsible for the erection and maintenance of the signs. Due to planning laws there are certain restrictions on where these are placed but, providing that the guidelines are followed, there should be little difficulty. There is no charge for the signs, which include the fittings needed to erect the signs.
Once erected, the Highway Authority will inspect the signs free of charge and provide insurance cover for Public Liability. Download the policy and application form here:
It is undoubtedly true that criminals are amongst the few people who like darkness in which to work. One way in which we can help avoid darkness is to provide adequate street lighting.
Both the County Council and the Borough Council spend a lot of money in ensuring that our streets are well lit. Your help is sought by these bodies in keeping the standard up to a level that we have come to expect. You are the people who are most likely to notice when lights are not working correctly.
FEAR OF CRIME.
KEEPING IT IN PERSPECTIVE.
The Fear of Crime is a very broad and complex issue; it is important because it relates closely to the individual’s quality of life.
It is understandable that some people are afraid
Extracted from the Report on the Fear of Crime:
In fact, much of this fear arises as a direct result of heightened awareness of Crime Prevention measures and Factors other than the extent of crime (such as the media, the environment and ‘incivilities’ like litter or verbal abuse) which are likely to be particularly important in rural areas or suburbs – where the crime rate is relatively moderate.
The British Crime Survey found that there is considerable variation in fear of crime between different sorts of people – male or female, old or young. For example, in contrast to some of the media coverage given to cases of crime committed against older people, crime statistics together with information gleaned from The British Crime Survey indicates that as a group, older people are less likely to be victims of crime than other age groups. The highest risk age group in fact is young men between 16 and 24 years of age.
Whilst not wishing to minimise the risk of crime, it is possible to take realistic positive steps, as is the case with Neighbourhood Watch, to reduce those risks. This minimises the feeling of fear and so improves the quality of life within the community.
Some points to bear in mind …
No-one in the scheme, whether Coordinator or member is expected to put themselves at any risk whatsoever.
We are NOT vigilantes!
Do not heighten expectations from the scheme.
It is not a solution to all crime. By not promising too much, we hope to avoid the pitfall of initial enthusiasm declining rapidly into disenchantment.
If we prevent one crime, with the trauma it would have caused for the victim, the effort will have been worthwhile.
As a Coordinator, don’t let yourself become a one-person security service for your area. Encourage members to support each other, but avoid becoming key holder for everyone who goes on holiday.
You don’t have to do any more than an ordinary resident/member in terms of keeping your eyes open and reporting suspicious activities. You are not expected to make special efforts to be vigilant, nor be held responsible if a criminal is not noticed.
The whole scheme is operated by private individuals. No member or Coordinator has any special powers, or any additional responsibilities, above those of an ordinary citizen.
Each scheme has a Coordinator who may have a number of deputy coordinators.
Schemes may be of any size, but they should always reflect a recognisable “community” and not be so large that the coordinator(s) cannot adequately and easily manage the scheme. It is better to split a large scheme into several smaller ones rather than struggle to cope.
Some schemes have one key coordinator with several coordinators who look after a smaller area. Other schemes have a more formal structure with a committee and officers. This is often the case when several schemes join together to form a local association.
All schemes within a district may join together to form a District Association.
Recently all police forces have encouraged the creation of county or force wide Neighbourhood Watch Associations to promote communication and consultation with the police and other authorities. This is the North Yorkshire Neighbourhood Watch Association (NY NHWA).
North Yorkshire Police and The North Yorkshire Police Commissioner are working closely with communities and partners, to achieve our best year for service and performance. Our main task is not only to reduce the amount of crime and disorder within our communities, but also to reduce the fear of crime and increase feelings of public safety.
We are committed to making sure our communities receive a quality policing service, and our policing style needs to strike a balance between working with communities to address ‘quality of life’ issues, whilst robustly deterring those intent on criminal activity.
North Yorkshire Police are developing the role of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to have a more visible and reassuring presence within the community. We are also focusing on recruiting more special constables who are a vital asset, involving the public in policing roles.
We are committed to working in partnerships, and through effective neighbourhood policing we aim to make sure that all our communities trust and have more confidence in us. We want law abiding citizens to play a more active role in policing and community safety, and by becoming a member of Neighbourhood Watch this could give you a genuine say in how you are policed, and play a part in local problem solving.
The non emergency telephone number has been introduced for you to contact NYP on: 101
53 local Neighbourhoods have been identified across North Yorkshire and each has a dedicated policing team consisting of Police Officers, PCSOs, Special Constables and other volunteers, including Watch Schemes. A highly visible, accessible and reassuring presence, and in urban areas this will predominantly be on foot and cycle patrol.
The Neighbourhood Police Teams engage with their community to gather intelligence and drive community action through the National Intelligence Model. This will include close links with Watches for example Neighbourhood Watch, Farm Watch and Shop Watch etc. These schemes allow for the dissemination of information and intelligence. The new CMS system will increase the potential audience and enable communication between NYP and a wider range of community groups and individuals. The system offers the user the opportunity to receive local bulletins and updates on policing activity in a number of ways – e mail, phone , text or by Smartphone app
The North Yorkshire Police website www.northyorkshire.police.uk has been enhanced to include local policing pages. The public will be able to access at a postcode level and see who their police leaders and Neighbourhood Police Teams are and how to contact them. Other relevant information at a more local level is available.
NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICE COMMUNITY MESSAGING SYSTEM (CMS)
North Yorkshire Police have been for a number of years successfully broadcasting messages to watch schemes and communities.
The new revised North Yorkshire Police community messaging system (CMS) will allow for the efficient dissemination of information; providing crime prevention advice; local crime patterns, suspicious persons or vehicles; matters relating to ‘watch’ groups; notifications of meetings etc. to all interested parties in North Yorkshire.
The CMS messaging portal is a ‘server based’ system that has developed from a freestanding telephone messaging system. With developments in technology and electronic communication methods, this will allow for a speedier and more cost effective broadcasting system.
Persons contacted are at the discretion of North Yorkshire Police and contact is made by e mail, telephone, SMS, Smartphone app or web pages for the purposes of intelligence gathering. The first choice is always by e-mail.
The system is an additional resource for the police to use, and all watch members are advised that no messages will be of an urgent nature.
The personal information on the database is used for North Yorkshire Police, Neighbourhood watch and other partnership organisations for the overall purpose of reducing crime and the fear of crime. No personal information is given to ANY other organisation.
There is a web page that allows the optional display of messages to the public who are not registered recipients. Members of the public will be able to, via the website, register an interest for the purposes of receiving all CMS messages sent to their area.
If you are a Coordinator we ask you to pass received messages on to others in your street, group etc.
If you have some information then you should contact the police on 101, Saying that you are a member of a watch scheme and that you have some information regarding a CMS message.
CAP GROUPS (Community & Police Groups)
Section 96 of the Police Act 1996 states that arrangements shall be made for each police area to obtain:
The views of people in that area about matters concerning the policing of the area.
Their co-operation with the police in preventing crime in that area.
Joining or setting up a NHW Scheme ‘what you are letting yourself in for’
Neighbourhood Watch is a community initiative which:
develops a close liaison between households in a neighbourhood, the local police, and the local authority.
The aim is to help people protect themselves and their properties, to reduce the fear of crime and improve their local environment by:
Improved home security
Fostering a community spirit
Improving the environment
No matter how well intentioned and enthusiastic you are, there are a number of things you have to consider if your scheme is to remain viable and active.
How will you:
Set objectives for your scheme?
Plan activities to help you meet your objectives?
Identify the necessary resources to carry out your objectives?
Review/audit your activities to see if you are meeting your objectives?
Neighbourhood Watch Schemes vary from area to area but every scheme needs the support of the community as well as the police, local authority and others.
Ultimately however, success depends upon the members, their initiative and continuing interest and efforts.
An active and effective scheme gives people the chance to get to know one another better and to provide support from within their community to others in the community, particularly for the more vulnerable.
THE ROLE OF THE COORDINATOR
In the early stages anyone taking on the role of coordinator will need to:
Make contact with individuals / households
Assist with defining the boundaries of the scheme
Be a point of contact between:
Members of the scheme,
The local authority and
Other relevant bodies.
The role of the co-ordinator changes (usually it gets bigger!) The tasks you, as the co-ordinator, could expect to undertake on behalf of your scheme include;
Circulate CMS messages effectively
Administration; supplying signs, report cards, etc
Conducting surveys – fear of crime, etc
Communication – passing information between parties
Circulating newsletters; equipment, crime prevention information / literature etc
Motivating – keeping your scheme active
Liasing with other schemes and associations as well as the police, local authority and others
Auditing your scheme’s activities
Monitoring vulnerable households within your community
Identifying environmental problems and reporting these to the Local Authority
This list is not exhaustive, although if you try to do all of the above at once – and on your own – you could find it exhausting!
You do not, by any means, need to carry out all of these.
You decide what you are happy with and what is useful for your scheme.
If you do decide to take on something for the first time, remember support is available through the local RSWF Neighbourhood Watch Association
SETTING OBJECTIVES – STAGES FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
You will need to decide fairly quickly what your scheme is about, what it seeks to achieve and how and who is going to do what.
Remember, this is a community initiative – you can’t do it all yourself.
So that everyone knows what is happening – or going to happen – you need to set some objectives. Try asking these questions and the objectives should write themselves.
“What do we want to get from it?”
You should now know why you need a scheme and have identified some problems you want to solve or things you want to improve.
REPORTING SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES.
'what do we mean by suspicious?’
Here are some examples that may assist you
Car driving slowly – occupants looking around at property.
Vehicle parked with occupants sitting low in the seats.
Vehicle parked and then occupants walk away into another street.
Person carrying unusual item.
Person carrying item underneath clothing (concealed).
Person looking / watching around at homes, vehicles or passers-by.
Person paying attention to properties where you know nobody is at home.
Vehicle out of character for the area.
Vehicle poorly maintained (light out, no road tax).
Persons leave vehicle and driver remains in the car.
Persons leave the vehicle but do not lock it.
Person concealing items in hedge or behind a wall and walking away.
Persons changing from one vehicle into another.
Vehicle abandoned in area.
These Are Only Some Ideas Of What Could Be Suspicious. However What One Thinks To Be Suspicious Can Also Be Genuine. Genuine People Do Not, As A Rule, Mind Being Checked By The Police.
Note: The Police Control Room may also call you with details of suspects / vehicles to look out for.
Describing a person –
Male / Female …………………………………..
Colour of skin …………………………………..
Eyes colour …………………………………..
Glasses worn Yes No
colour / length / straight / curly / receding / bald …………………
long / thin / round / clean shaven / moustache / beard ……………
tattoos / scars / birthmarks ………………………………….
hat / coat / top / trousers / shoes / designer logos ………………..
(Write it down on a piece of paper. Don't try to remember it)
saloon / estate / hatchback/van/ pickup/ two or four door
old or new …………………………………
damage / rust / stickers / damaged lights ……………………
Vehicle Location …………………………………..
Direction or likely direction of travel ………………………
Number of occupants ………………………………………
‘good communications are those that are understood’
Communication may be defined as the ‘sharing of information or an idea' and involves:
It must be Accurate
Inaccurate information especially when communicated to the Emergency Services can bring about consequences that range from annoying to catastrophic.
It must be Appropriate
Both the method of delivery and the person (or the organisation) to whom it is addressed must be appropriate for the circumstances.
Some useful types of communication
All have their advantages and disadvantages – remember to choose the right method and channel.
Your method of communication must match the requirement.
The information must be assessed, given the right level of urgency and circulated to the right people by the most appropriate means.
You may wish to consider utilising a ‘grading’ system and passing the grade as a code within the message to emphasise the importance to the recipient. If you adopt this method it will of course be necessary for everyone to understand your code!
Based on your assessment of the information, are actions required by anyone? Are those actions:
URGENT - FAIRLY URGENT - ROUTINE
‘personal safety is not new or mysterious, it is mostly common sense’
Personal Safety may seem more relevant to women and the more vulnerable members of our community, particularly those living on their own, but it applies to everyone.
However, it is necessary to strike a balance and to do so we must understand the risks.
Throughout the United Kingdom-
The chances of you or your family becoming a victim of violent crime is low
Violent crime accounts for a very small proportion of all crime
Young men are the most likely to become a victim of violent crime
In thinking about Personal Safety Consider:
In the home
Outside the home
On public transport
Considerations for women
Considerations for men
Be aware of bogus doorstep callers. Most callers are probably genuine, but some are not. The advice is:
Keep the door locked
Identify the caller through a window/spy hole
Use the safety chain before opening the door
Ask for an identity card
Check it thoroughly – take your time
If unsure telephone the company concerned and enquire
If still unsure do not let them in- ask them to write and make an appointment
If in any doubt ring for a neighbour and/or the Police
If you hear the sound of an intruder, only you can decide what to do. Remember they are highly unlikely to want a confrontation
keep quiet and avoid attracting attention
make a lot of noise, switch on the lights
if alone, call out to an imaginary companion
Discovering a burglary – DO NOT ENTER.
Go to a neighbour and alert the Police immediately
Use the 999 system
Maintain observation on your property whilst awaiting the arrival of the police but,
DO NOT PUT YOURSELF OR OTHERS IN DANGER
BASIC HOME SECURITY
Fit a 5 lever deadlock which meets British Standard 3621 – look for the British Standard kite mark.
A deadlock can be opened only with a key, so a thief cannot smash a nearby panel to open the door from inside.
If the thief enters through a window he cannot carry property out through the door.
This automatic rim dead latch locks automatically when the door is closed, but could be opened from the inside without a key. At the turn of a key the lock is prevented from being opened from the inside.
In addition to the Mortice Deadlock you should have a bolt top and bottom of your rear door. So in effect it is held locked in three places.
check they are sturdy, for extra security fit inexpensive hinge bolts
never hang a spare key inside the letterbox. Thieves will look here as a matter of course. A letterbox cage will prevent a thief from putting his hand through the letterbox and trying the locks from the inside. A letterbox guard will prevent a thief using a cane as a “fishing rod” to obtain a bunch of keys, on which are your car keys. This will then reduce the risk of your car being stolen from your drive outside your house.
Chains help you to speak with strangers at the door, once you have fitted one, get into the habit of using it.
Door viewers mean you can identify callers before opening the door.
Patio doors require special locks fitted into the top and bottom
Using Postcodes for marking valuables
Thieves look for portable, high-value easily saleable goods like: tv’s, video recorders, hi-fi equipment, home computers, cameras, jewellery, silverware and antiques.
One excellent way to protect items is to mark them with an indelible identification showing your postcode, the number of your house or flat or the first two letters of its name.
Put a sticker - in a front window to tell thieves that your property is marked. The sticker will make them think twice.
The marking makes it harder for a thief to sell your property to a dealer and easier for the police to return the property to you if it is found. Easy-to-use property marking kits are available from stationers and DIY stores.
Keep a list, too, of the serial numbers of your television, video and hi-fi equipment. The numbers will be useful if you need to make an insurance claim. To help police identify items, such as silverware, jewellery and antiques which cannot easily be marked, take colour photographs of them.
Set each object against a contrasting background so that it shows up clearly, and lay a ruler beside it as a guide to size.
Permanent Ink Marker (visible)
For all soft and semi-soft materials including vinyl and other plastics. This marker gives an indelible black mark even after repeated washing or cleaning - ideal for permanent identification on carpets, furnishings, clothing, paintings, leather and other soft materials. Leaves a visible deterrent on items such as computers etc.
U.V Marker (invisible)
Non-permanent, spirit based marker which is only seen when illuminated by ultra violet light. Best repeated every year.
Hardened Tipped Marker
Permanent mark on any metal, glass, plastic, wood or other hard surfaces. Best used with a stencil. Videos, televisions, hi-fis, radios, telephones, kitchen and garden equipment.
Permanent visible writing on glass, porcelain or any hard, glazed surface. It does not scratch or cut into the surface. Leaves a pencil like mark which is very difficult to remove.
Any item you do not want to mark should be photographed alongside a ruler, preferably showing any slight defects making that item unique.
Keep a list of the serial numbers of your television, video and media equipment.
Amended 18 Feb 2017 SAL