Setting up a new scheme

If you would like more information about setting up a new Neighbourhood Watch scheme, please see the frequently asked questions below.

What does being a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator involve?

Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators are volunteers who wish to make a difference in their local area by helping to take steps to reduce crime and improve resident’s safety.

The traditional role of a Watch coordinator is to set up and maintain a scheme within a specific neighbourhood. They provide a key link between Merseyside Police and their local Neighbourhood Watch scheme making communication and the exchange of information easier and more effective. Once the scheme is identified, each coordinator can then develop their own way to run the scheme which suits them and their members.

The main responsibilities of a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator are listed below:

  • Start or maintain a Neighbourhood Scheme within a specific neighbourhood / area and organise meetings as and when necessary
  • Maintain an up to date master list of all members and inform Merseyside Police if there are any changes to the Scheme such as additional members
  • Take an active role in distributing crime information and crime prevention material to scheme members including circular newsletters
  • Encourage neighbourliness, vigilance amongst scheme members and actively encourage the early reporting of suspicious incidents to the Police or crime stoppers.
  • Encourage scheme members to be aware of and put into practice, crime prevention measures, such as property marking and security devices.
  • Keep a check on vulnerable households and provide advice to members about dealing with callers at the door
  • Welcome newcomers to the neighbourhood / area and invite them to be part of the scheme.
  • Report any intelligence received from Scheme members
  • Attend local quarterly Neighbourhood meetings
  • Network with adjacent schemes to enhance the network and assist in making the wider community a safer place.

Will there be any cost involved in setting up a new scheme?

It is free to join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

Merseyside Police aim to provide the majority of resources to promote your scheme and further promotional resources can be found on the National Website under the ‘Members section’.

It is up to the individual Neighbourhood Watch scheme as to any planned activity that may require additional funding but it is encouraged to seek ‘In-Kind’ support from local businesses to keep the costs to individual members to a minimum.

How do I promote a Neighbourhood Watch scheme?

Good publicity material will get people interested in your scheme.

Whether you just want to publicise Neighbourhood Watch in general, let people know about your scheme or advertise a

specific event, there are ready made templates that Merseyside Police have produced which you can adapt to make your own personalised posters, letters and newsletters. They have designed to be easy to use, professional and friendly.

Alternatively, you may also wish to sign up as a member of the national Neighbourhood Watch website where there are further promotional templates which you can download and customise. [www.ourwatch.org.uk/resource_centre/members_area].

For information on writing clear, simple, effective Neighbourhood Watch text, please refer to the  Tone of Voice Guidelines on the national Neighbourhood Watch website using the link below: [www.ourwatch.org.uk/resource_centre/document_library/nhwn_tone_of_voice_guidelines].

Are there any restrictions to becoming a scheme coordinator?

There are no restrictions to becoming a Neighbourhood Watch member except that you must be over 18 years old. You do not need to be in employment, or need any formal qualifications but you will need to have good communication and interpersonal skills. You will also need to be flexible to be able to give up some of your free time for this voluntary work and have the enthusiasm that is required for making practical contributions toward the overall improvement in the community’s safety.

How is the effectiveness of Neighbourhood Watch measured?

Each year you should review your scheme to ensure that it is achieving its goals. Start by looking at your original expectations, the activities and benefits you decided on, and what you were prepared to give in order to achieve what you wanted. Then ask

‘Have we achieved what we set out to do, have we done even better, or are we just standing still?’

Depending on the result of your review, you could change your activities and their emphasis to ensure that your scheme remains responsive to the needs of its members.

It’s important that you don’t treat your original plans as set in stone, because you should be able to react to changes in your area. You can decide to change both your expectations of the scheme and your activities, if necessary.

I would like to set up a new Neighbourhood Watch scheme in my area, what is the next step?

If there is not an existing scheme in your area, please contact one of our Citizens in Policing coordinators using the details below to let them know you are interested in setting up a new scheme.  They will then be able to discuss the process in more detail and send you a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator information pack and vetting form.