Neighbourhood watch frequently asked questions


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As an ordinary NHW member, you will not need any formal training. As a coordinator, again very little training as help and support is provided on an ongoing basis by Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association.

Watches are not police-run groups. It is important to build a close working partnership with your local police such as the Safer Neighbourhood Team, and share with them all information relating to crime and other incidents in your area.

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, we have a powerful tool to tackle crime

Online Watch Link (OWL) is a community alert messaging system used by Tower Hamlets police, council and NHW to help reduce crime and to keep residents informed of what’s going on locally.

Generally, street signs can be obtained from the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association.


Discuss your plan with your neighbours and the local police. Your neighbours must agree to participate and support the Watch. Then, you and your neighbours need to appoint a coordinator(s) whose job is to get scheme members working together.

Coordinators and members regularly talk about crime and disorder problems in the neighbourhood and how to best tackle them. Coordinators also stay in close contact with the local police to share information and to seek advice. The role, although not overly demanding is important as a Watch coordinator may be the only way to reach the elderly and vulnerable people on their Watch. 


Neighbourhood Watch, is one of the biggest and most successful crime prevention schemes ever. At its most basic level, it is a system 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. In London, we have expanded the reach to include the whole community, members of watches included. 


The Neighbourhood Watch Network (NWN) is the national body representing Neighbourhood Watch. London Community Watch is the London body that supports every London resident.


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.


To find out if you belong to a watch, visit and select join a watch. You can also enquire with your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team, the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association or the London Community Watch website.


Data Controller and Purpose

The information you provide will be used by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ Public Realm, to process your request. The service is provided jointly with the council’s waste and cleansing contractor “Veolia” under the statutory responsibility the council holds to collect and manage waste within the borough and Tower Hamlets Council is the Data Controller.

We have received your requests which may be accompanied with personal information such as name, address and contact details from your use of our waste collection service and will use this for data processing which will allow us to make improvements.

We process your data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and if you have any concerns the council’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted on

Condition for Processing Personal Data

It is necessary for us to process your personal data (name and contact details), under the GDPR as a task carried out in the public interest / for the performance of a contract / for compliance with a legal obligation/with consent], and more personal data (health, personal and household circumstances) as necessary for (substantial public interest reasons / preventative or occupational medicine / public health).

A delay in you providing the information requested may result in a delay in providing appropriate services.

How long do we keep your information?

We will only hold your information for as long as is required by law and to provide you with the necessary services. This is likely to be for seven years after the case is closed. For further details, you can view our Retention Schedule.

We may also anonymise some personal data you provide to us to ensure that you cannot be identified and use this for statistical analysis of data to allow the council to effectively target and plan the provision of services.

Information sharing

Your personal information may be shared with internal departments or with external partners and agencies involved in delivering services on our behalf. As stated above this will include some personal information such as names and contact details if necessary to your request. The council has a duty to protect public funds and may use personal information and data-matching techniques to detect and prevent fraud, and ensure public money is targeted and spent in the most appropriate and cost effective way. Information may be shared with internal services and external bodies like the Audit Commission, Department for Work and Pensions, other local authorities, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Police. This activity is carried out under social protection law.

We have a duty to improve the health of the population we serve. To help with this, we use data and information from a range of sources including hospitals to understand more about the nature and causes of disease and ill-health in the area. This data would normally be anonymised and never used to make decisions on a specific individual or family.

Your rights

You can find out more about your rights on our Data Protection page and how to complain to the Information Commissioner.