You can easily check if there is an existing Neighbourhood Watch scheme nearby by visiting www.ourwatch.org.uk and clicking on “Find my local scheme” at the top, scroll down and enter your postcode. The shortcut for this is https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/find-my-local-scheme. This will show you the 7 nearest schemes.
If there is no scheme in your area and you would like to start a new one then scroll down below that map and click on “Start a new scheme”. If you need any help then you can also Email email@example.com.
A Neighbourhood Watch scheme is usually set up by a person who we call a Main co-ordinator – they are just a local point of contact. The co-ordinator may also have a deputy. Their main role is to encourage local people to join the scheme, and then to forward key messages to the scheme members. Those messages will be sent to the co-ordinator by trusted agencies such as Neighbourhood Watch and the local police, amongst others. Increasingly, members can also receive messages direct, by signing themselves onto our system. There may be some members without E-mail access – where possible we hope that co-ordinators will be able to keep them up to date by passing on important information, perhaps by phone or by printing it out and popping it through their letterbox.
In Sussex there is a long standing policy that all new co-ordinators and deputies undergo a simple police records check, to ensure that they are suitable for that role. Just complete the simple form here here and forward it (a scanned hand written copy is fine) to your local Neighbourhood Watch Association or to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will arrange for the police check to be made to Neighbourhood Watch standards, and will notify you of the result. Once you have been “approved” by Neighbourhood Watch, if you search for your scheme by entering your postcode above, you will notice that the white circle marking the approximate location of your scheme on the map will become a yellow circle. In Sussex the police do not “verify” co-ordinators, hence no schemes are marked with a blue circle.
Additional information for members who are using our system
Our system is very secure and the same software is also used by many police forces. Your data is held securely and in accordance with Data Protection legislation.
If you choose to register your details with us then YOU will be in control of who can send you information (“Information providers”), what sort of messages you would like to receive, and even which local areas you would like to receive messages about. When you register with us you can choose or will be sent a user name and password, and you can change your password whenever you wish.
Additional information for co-ordinators and deputies
Existing schemes are progressively being mapped in our systems, and can be found by entering your postcode in the box above, or by visiting www.ourwatch.org.uk. Similarly, when a new scheme is set up we will help you to map it, to encourage new members to join.
If you enter your postcode at: https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/find-my-local-scheme, you should find your scheme (and others nearby). You can click on it in the right column to view a more detailed map. Please note that no personal information about you is displayed on the public website, unless you tell the system to display it. If you click on the Coordinator login button below the map you can then sign in by entering your user name and password, and update any information you wish. However, please do NOT untick the box which enables you to receive messages from Neighbourhood Watch Network, otherwise you will not receive any Neighbourhood Watch messages!
When registering you will also receive a “Welcome to the Member Administration Area” E-mail, which explains these options in more detail, and a “Thank you” welcoming message.
Our Alert system is perfectly happy to hold the details of every street member but it is entirely optional for members to register. Those without E-mail can register or be registered but they may not receive messages. You could take the view that if every co-ordinator is keeping a list of their members then they might as well keep that list on our very secure system, and minimise any complications in complying with Data Protection legislation. Co-ordinators can also message or forward messages to their members this way.
Probably the easiest way for your scheme members to register is to enter your scheme postcode as above, and then click on your scheme. On the next page scroll down and click on 'Apply to join', then follow the prompts.
Also on that page you will see another yellow box ‘Send a message’. This allows anybody to send the co-ordinator an E-mail on a blind basis, meaning that they will have no idea who the co-ordinator is. The co-ordinator will get a notification should that happen, and it is up to the co-ordinator how to respond.
Once they have completed registration they will receive a one-time E-mail message asking them to click a link to confirm that their E-mail address is valid. It is important that they do this as part of the security checks. If they don’t then they will not receive any messages, and instead they will receive reminders to verify their account details. However, they should NOT untick the box which enables them to receive messages from Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network, otherwise they will not receive any Neighbourhood Watch messages!
The co-ordinator will then receive a notification that somebody has applied to join their scheme. The co-ordinator need not take any action if they are happy for that person to join the scheme. If they wish they can get in touch with the new member and welcome them to the scheme. If for some reason they do not want that person in their scheme, they also have to option to reject that person.
In some places we also have Neighbourhood Watch Area Co-ordinators. Each is a lead point of contact for a group of Neighbourhood Watch schemes, connecting and supporting Co-ordinators, local police and partners, actively involved in keeping their in keeping their area safe.