During Neighbourhood Watch Week 20 - 28 June 2015 we are celebrating the thousands of dedicated members of Neighbourhood Watch who give their time tirelessly to help keep our communities safe.
Local heroes like Graham Syrett who runs the The Cotham/Kingsdown Neighbourhood Watch group which launched in 1982 and was one of the first Watches in Avon and Somerset. The scheme covers eight roads with more than 200 households.
Mr Syrett says: “It works well because there is a strong sense of community and cohesion here anyway. When our group started, the local Chief Inspector came along and presented us with some rather stark figures about local crime. We saw that the problem was ours – not really the police’s problem – and we wanted a significant reduction in crime-related incidents. After the first year of our watch, a study against other control areas showed a significant fall in local crime incidents.”
He believes that key to the group’s success is a regular and timely flow of information both ways between the police and the community and a sense that “this is our problem and we can beat it together”.
Avon and Somerset Police’s lead for Neighbourhood Watch, Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Crew, says: "Across the Avon and Somerset force area thousands of Neighbourhood Watch volunteers work closely with Neighbourhood Policing teams to help make our communities safe. It proves that very many people actively want to make a positive difference in their communities.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens says: “Only by empowering our communities to take action can we cut crime together, ensure there are fewer victims and build safer communities.
"Neighbourhood Watch is a great example of the police working with the support of their communities. With over 100,000 homes represented in Neighbourhood Watch schemes within Avon and Somerset it really shows the power of local people in preventing crime.
“The sense of unity that Neighbourhood Watch brings to local communities always comes across strongly when I meet with local groups. Neighbourhood Watch plays a vital role in helping keep our communities safe and feeling safe. It is clear to see that in many areas communities are looking out for one another and working together to improve safety and the feeling of safety.”
Avon and Somerset has been supporting Neighbourhood Watch since 1982 and there are now over 4,000 Watches in the force area. Many different types of Watch schemes exist to address different community needs; ranging from Community Speedwatch, to Farmwatch, Horsewatch, Countryside Watch and Rural Watch.