When you become part of Neighbourhood Watch, you don’t sign up to a specific programme. Every scheme is different because each is run by and for the members of its community, to meet that community’s specific needs.
If you are interested in finding your local group and become a member here’s how to get started.
To find your nearest Neighbourhood Watch groups quickly and easily, you can use the postcode search, on the National Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network website www.ourwatch.org.uk and then click on the links to find out how to contact the local scheme coordinators. They will help you join and keep you informed of news and activities.
Alternatively, find your local neighbourhood policing team here and ask them about local groups. The police don’t run Neighbourhood Watch, but they will have information about groups in your area.
If there is no scheme in your area, you might like to think about starting your own.
There are many benefits of being a member of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. The tangible benefits are that scheme members are between 17% and 26% less likely to be victims of crime compared with non members (British Crime Survey) and most insurance companies will give a discount on home insurance costs for members of schemes, usually 10%. It is also the case that Neighbourhood Watch signage does deter burglars. Less tangibly scheme members will be more aware of what’s happening in their areas, they will have better access to the police and other agencies and importantly they will have improved relationships with neighbours and feel part of a community that cares about them.
The first step is to talk to your neighbours and see who is interested and how they’d like to improve the area. To make things easier, there are some useful letters and flyers in the member’s area of the National web site designed to help you introduce yourself and encourage your neighbours to join you.
You don't have to be a homeowner or permanent resident to start a scheme. You may very well want to feel safe where you live, meet people in your street or village and feel part of the local community as a tenant or short term resident, and everyone is encouraged to become involved in Neighbourhood or Home Watch. If you are a tenant, you might want to ask your landlord if there is any resource or support that they are prepared to give - making the area safer will benefit the landlord too.
You can also look on the Cumbria Constabulary website where you can find your local neighbourhood policing team. The police don’t run Neighbourhood Watch, but they will have useful information. They should be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you start a scheme and direct you to other local resources. This will be either one of their own officers or someone at the Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association.
You can get a new scheme started without necessarily committing to running it yourself. Once you’ve got enough interest from local people, you can select someone to become the coordinator for the group.
Remember, you can start a group with a lot of interest or only a little. Many schemes start very small and then grow once residents see what it’s all about. The main thing is to make a start.
Besides Neighbourhood and Home Watch CNWA also supports a variety of other Watch Schemes which are essentially specific communities of interest such as hoteliers, horse owners, campers and caravan owners, allotment holders, churches etc. Contacts for any of these groups are available from the Police or the CNWA. The largest of these special watches is FarmWatch which has almost 2000 members and includes over 1700 farms throughout Cumbria. The Police have produced a farm safety leaflet which is available here. Details about HorseWatch can be found here.