Neighbourhood watch frequently asked questions
- What is Neighbourhood Watch?
- Am I in a Neighbourhood Watch
- How do I start a scheme?
- What will I have to do?
- What is the role of the
- What is the role of the Home
- How will the scheme be
- Can I use the logo?
- Can I create my own logo?
- How do I get 'public liability
- What do acronyms NHWN, NPSGWI and
NSGWI stand for?
- Is there a national body representing
- How do I order Neighbourhood &
Home Watch leaflets and stickers?
- Where can I get Neighbourhood Watch
- As a NHW member and co-ordinator,
what training do I need?
- How many Neighbourhood Watch schemes
are there in the UK?
- What is the history of Neighbourhood
- Are there any other Watch
- What is 'Cocoon Watch'?
- How can I find out the latest news
about Neighbourhood Watch?
1. What is Neighbourhood Watch?
Neighbourhood Watch (in some areas known as Home Watch), is one
of the biggest and most successful crime prevention schemes ever.
At its most basic level, it is a scheme where a group of neighbours
get together with the police and other agencies to reduce local
crime and disorder (and perceptions of crime) in the bid to make
your neighbourhood a safe and better place to live, work and play.
It's also about building community spirit and good relations.
2. Am I in a Neighbourhood Watch scheme?
To find out if you belong to a scheme, contact
a Crime Prevention Officer at your local police station who will be
able to tell you if there is a scheme in your area or help you set
up one of your own. You can also enquire with your local
Safer Neighbourhoods Team, the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood
Watch Association or the Ourwatch website.
3. How do I start a scheme?
If you are serious about setting up a
Neighbourhood Watch scheme in your area, contact a Crime Prevention
Officer at your local police station to discuss your plan. You
can also contact your local
Safer Neighbourhoods Team or the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood
Watch Association for advice.
4. What will I have to do?
Discuss your plan with your local police and
your neighbours. Your neighbours must agree to participate and
support the scheme. A scheme can be large, covering a whole housing
estate or it can be small with half a dozen houses on the same
street. Then, you and your neighbours need to appoint a
co-ordinator (or co-ordinators) whose job is to get scheme members
working together. Co-ordinators and members meet regularly to talk
about crime and disorder problems in the neighbourhood and how to
best tackle them. Co-ordinators also keep in close contact with the
local police to share information and to seek advice.
5. What is the role of the police?
Watch schemes are not police-run groups. It is
important to build a close working partnership with your local
police such as the Safer Neighbourhood Team or the Neighbourhood
Policing Team, and share with them all information relating to
crime and other incidents in your area. Many police stations have a
Crime Prevention Officer who works as a contact point for
co-ordinators. The police can provide information on the latest
crime figures, operational support as well as crime prevention
advice, whereas Watch members can provide valuable information and
knowledge about the neighbourhood. Together, you have a powerful
tool to tackle crime.
6. What is the role of the Home Office?
The Home Office recognises the important role
of Neighbourhood Watch in crime reduction, and supports it in many
ways including developing policy relating to its promotion, growth
and support, providing practical support such as maintaining the
website, managing the logos, producing good practice guidance,
supplying free publications and training packages and providing
Public Liability Insurance cover for every Neighbourhood Watch
group and association throughout England and Wales.
7. How will the scheme be funded?
As voluntary groups, schemes need to decide
how they will pay for the costs incurred through undertaking
activities, such as producing newsletters, running a website or
hiring meeting rooms. Funding for crime reduction is held at a
local level. The aim is to empower local communities to make their
own contributions to reducing crime and disorder and is a central
part of the Government’s strategy. Funding may be obtained from the
police, local authorities, Crime & Disorder Reduction
Partnerships (CDRP), Local Strategic Partnerships (LSP) or through
membership fees or sponsorship. Some schemes charge their members a
nominal monthly fee.
8. Can I use the logo?
The yellow circular Neighbourhood Watch with
'four individuals' and the red triangle Home Watch logos are Crown
Copyright and trademarked by the Home Office. They can be used by
genuine Neighbourhood Watch and Home Watch groups (or third parties
acting on their behalf) for educational and other purposes, such as
on newsletters and websites. Prior to using the logos, a licence
must be obtained. The purpose of the licence is to preserve the
reputation and integrity of the logos so as to ensure that they
remain available for use by bona fide Neighbourhood & Home
Watch groups, and to protect from inappropriate commercial
exploitation such as to promote or endorse commercial products and
services. See 'Neighbourhood & Home Watch Logos' for further
9. Can I create my own logo?
You can create your own logo. However you
cannot make any changes to the 'official' yellow circular
Neighbourhood Watch and the red triangle Home Watch logos. These
are Crown Copyright and trademarked by the Home Office. You should
also consider the impact an unfamiliar logo might have. The
'official' Neighbourhood Watch and Home Watch logos are well
recognised and act as a deterrent to would-be criminals. An
unfamiliar logo might not have the same deterrent effect.
10. How do I get 'public liability insurance'?
Public Liability Insurance or PLI free cover
is available for Neighbourhood Watch schemes and associations in
England and Wales. It is managed by the National Council for
Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) working in conjunction with Ansvar Neighbourhood Watch Public
Liability Insurance. Once your Neighbourhood Watch group is
approved by your local
Safer Neighbourhoods Team, you will get a watch registration
number from the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association,
which you give to Ansvar for
your free public liability insurance.
11. What do acronyms NHWN, NPSGWI and NSGWI stand for?
NHWN stands for the Neighbourhood & Home
Watch Network (formerly known as United Strategy Group for Watch
Issues). NPSGWI (National Police Steering Group for Watch Issues)
and NSGWI (National Strategy Group for Watch Issues).
12. Is there a national body representing Neighbourhood
The Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network
(NHWN) is the national body representing Neighbourhood Watch. The
NHWN has the prize winning Ourwatch website. You can map
your 'Watch' area on that website.
13. How do I order Neighbourhood & Home Watch leaflets and
You can order Home Office NHW publicity
materials from your local
Safer Neighbourhoods Team or directly from the sponsor
14. Where can I get Neighbourhood Watch street signs?
Generally, street signs can be obtained from
your local police. However, in some areas they are provided by the
local authority, and in other areas the local schemes must purchase
street signs themselves. You should contact a Crime Prevention
Officer from your local police station as a first step to find out
who provides Neighbourhood Watch street signs in your area.
15. As a NHW member and co-ordinator, what training do I
As an ordinary NHW member, you will not need
any formal training, although it will be worth learning as much as
possible about Neighbourhood & Home Watch from this website.
NHW co-ordinators, Watch Liaison Officers, Crime Prevention
Officers, council staff working in community safety and the Tower
Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association may require training. A new
training package is currently being developed.
16. How many Neighbourhood Watch schemes are there in the
The number of schemes registered for the
Public Liability Insurance (PLI) is a good indicator of the number
of schemes in the UK. There are 129,357 schemes, covering over 9
millions households (Source: Keegan & Pennykid, based on the
number of schemes registered for PLI in January 2008). However, it
is not known how many schemes exist that are not registered for the
17. What is the history of Neighbourhood Watch?
Neighbourhood Watch first came to the UK from
America during the 1980s. It started in a Cheshire village called
Mollington in 1982 and spread quickly throughout the UK. It is
sometimes known as Home Watch. Last year, Neighbourhood Watch
celebrated its 25th anniversary in the UK.
18. Are there any other Watch schemes?
Yes, there are many Watch schemes based on the
original Neighbourhood Watch. For examples, Church Watch, Horse
Watch, Business Watch, Pub Watch, Farm Watch, School Watch, Boat
Watch and many more.
19. What is 'Cocoon Watch'?
Cocoon Watch is a mini neighbourhood watch
where after a burglary, immediate neighbours are asked to keep an
eye on the burgled home for a few weeks and to report anything or
anyone suspicious to the police.
20. How can I find out the latest news about Neighbourhood
You can talk your NHW co-ordinator or check
out websites such as: