Crime trends and prevention methods are being shared with the people of Essex, thanks to a grant from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Neighbourhood Watch, which encourages people to come together to make communities safer and stronger and to look out for each other, operates 14 groups across Essex.
The organisation, with 100,000 members in the county, is supported each year with a £10,500 crime and disorder reduction grant from the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex. It is also given £500 towards its annual conference to help spread the word of its work.
Clive Stewart, chairman of the Essex County Neighbourhood Watch Association, splits the cash between the groups, giving £800 to be spent in various ways to each district.
He said: “We do a good job by reducing the opportunity of crime and reducing the fear of crime.
“This money enables our districts to invest in things like purse bells for the community, to hire village halls for events, or to purchase cards for vulnerable residents to show unknown visitors through their window to ask them to contact someone they know; it all costs money. But, it makes a difference as it shows people Neighbourhood Watch is there to give out information and support. It raises our profile among the public. That’s where this money makes a difference to us.
“This financial support also gives us the credibility of having PFCC Roger Hirst behind us.
“I have a great team who work really hard to get Neighbourhood Watch out there.”
One of those team members is Peter Salmon who co-ordinates the Brentwood branch of Neighbourhood Watch.
Mr Salmon, who was a finalist in the PFCC community heroes awards this year, prides himself on running his group without any administration costs.
He said: “I treat it as a hobby. It’s my way of giving something back. It’s so very rewarding.”
His role involves keeping abreast of crime trends and keeping his community informed and protected where possible, working closely with the PFCC, Crimestoppers, Victim Support and the Community Safety Partnership.
As well as using the £800 grant to replenish stock of items such as personal alarms, purse cables – to prevent purse thefts from handbags – and purse bells, the Brentwood group is constantly looking for new crime prevention ideas.
Mr Salmon said: “We work very closely with the Community Safety Partnership on projects such as the door chain project. We source and fit – free of charge – door chains, door mirrors and ID checker cards so the elderly and vulnerable feel safe when they open their doors. The mirror is attached to the wall, so when the door is opened slightly the visitor can be identified in the mirror rather than the resident having to put their face outside of the house; you can’t be too sure of what someone might be carrying to cause harm.
“Without the grant from the PFCC, there’s no chance at all we could do all that we do. I couldn’t do one-hundredth of what I do without the support from the PFCC.”
Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Neighbourhood Watch do a very important job in communities throughout Essex. Working with the police they help provide intelligence to officers, support the elderly and vulnerable and go out of their way to make their local area safer.
“Just knowing that Neighbourhood Watch are active in an area can play a large part in preventing crime for happening in the first place. The volunteers make a significant contribution to catching criminals and creating safe and secure communities.”
To find out more about Neighbourhood Watch and how to get involved go to https://www.essex.police.uk/advice/neighbourhood-watch/
If your enquiry relates to operational policing or a crime please contact Essex Police here