Neighbourhood Watch




Neighbourhood Watch

The concept of Neighbourhood Watch was established in the UK in 1982.

The first scheme was set up in the village of Mollington in Cheshire in response to a spate of burglaries and was an immediate success. Good news travelled fast and surrounding areas were quick to adopt the idea.

Growth throughout the 1980s was dramatic, establishing Neighbourhood Watch countrywide.

In 1995 The National Neighbourhood Watch Association (NNWA) was formed to promote, support and represent the Neighbourhood Watch movement

This folded in 2007 and was replaced by The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network which is funded by the Home Office. 



In December 2012 Neighbourhood Watch was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award in recognition of the work they do.

With approximately 170,000 co-ordinators covering 3.9 million households it is one of the largest voluntary movements across England and Wales.

Neighbourhood Watch schemes enable people to come together and make a difference to their communities. Their aim is to help people protect themselves and their property and to reduce the fear of crime, by fostering a community spirit.





Neighbourhood Watch groups are an effective means of deflecting potential offenders to other areas. One of its main objectives is to prevent and reduce crime in a particular location. This may be a few houses, a street or a whole estate.

Surveys have shown that you are four times less likely to be burgled if your home is within a neighbourhood watch area.

Many schemes are started to combat a particular problem, it's far easier to tackle problems as a group than as a collection of individuals. There have been many occasions where this approach has had a dramatic effect on long standing concerns, regarding criminal or anti social behaviour in an area.

Schemes such as these provide reassurance to all that live in the area and helps remove any fear individuals may have had before. 

Other schemes are set up more as an insurance policy against criminal activity, there existence makes members aware of what may be happening in their neighbourhood and alert others to any suspicious activity that may occur.




Neighbourhood Watch now being a National independent voluntary organisation, has its own hierarchy and structure. In our County, it is administered by the Essex County Neighbourhood Watch Association committee, and served by voluntary co-ordinators, who pass on information too, and from members, helping to promote community cohesion, and keeping everyone informed.

Essex Police employ an "Essex Watch" co-ordinator to support and encourage the work and development of Neighbourhood Watch schemes within each district.

Essex Watch also encourages and supports the formation and development, of other ‘Watch schemes,’ which include:  Allotment Watch, Business Watch / Industrial Watch, Caravan Watch, Country Watch, Farm Watch, Forest / Park Watch, Golf Watch, Horse Watch, Junior Neighbourhood Watch, Marine Watch (Inland Waterways), Pub Watch, School Watch, Shop Watch, Speed Watch.   There are several additional initiatives which are currently being looked at, including Plant Watch (construction plant) and Trailer Watch.

All of the Watch schemes share two common aims and objectives, which are:  To ‘Keep Crime Down,’ and to ‘Help Communities to Help Themselves.’




There are numerous Neighbourhood Watch schemes throughout Essex. If you are not aware of a local scheme you can use the "Ourwatch" web site and enter your postcode. However, not all schemes have been registered on this site, so an alternative is to contact your local "Essex Watch" liaison officer, their details are on the Essex Police site. 

You can also contact your local neighbourhood police force, again their contact details are available on the Essex Police web site under "My Neighbourhood".



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If you are considering starting a new scheme, with even just a few neighbours. You may find that your District has a NHW Web site with local contact details. Alternatively you can contact the district Essex Watch liaison officer who will be happy to provide all the information you need.

Although, your group will form part of a national organistion

all schemes are individual. It is up to you how it is run and how much time you wish to devote to it.







If you are a member of Neighbourhood Watch you have an interest in protecting your family and neighbourhood from the affects of crime.

However, there may be an occasion when you don't feel comfortable speaking to the Police about what you may have heard or seen and are concerned about coming forward as a potential witness.

Under those circumstances you can contact "Crimestoppers".


Crimestoppers are an independent charity committed to solving crimes and rely on voluntary support to continue doing so.

By going through "Crimestoppers" you will not be required to reveal your name, make a statement or appear in court; furthermore your call cannot be recorded or traced.








A useful web site, which is intended to reduce the number of non emergency calls to the Police, is the "Ask the Police" site.

It has a FAQ section which gives access to a wide selection of questions and answers. If you cannot find the information you require you can ask directly via the site and obtain an emailed answer.






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