Firstly, contact your neighbours and see if they are interested in starting up a scheme. The more people, the more successful your scheme will be. Don’t worry, not all residents have to be members. As long as you have the support of 50% of the households you can set up a scheme. Each scheme has a co-ordinator and they will liaise with Police, public and the Eastleigh Neighbourhood Watch Association.
What are you waiting for?
HOW TO SET UP A SCHEME IN EASTLEIGH
Firstly, it is advisable to check that there is not already a Scheme operating in your area. Ask your neighbours or contact the Chairman of Eastleigh Neighbourhood Watch Association (ENWA) with details of your address including postcode.
If you are proposing to set up a new Scheme, here are some things to think about:
- What is the main aim of your Scheme? E.g.is there a specific problem you are setting up the Scheme to address?
- What is the area that the proposed Scheme will cover? (see below for more advice)
- A Scheme Coordinator will need to be appointed (usually the Proposer, but not necessarily)
- Do you need a Deputy (recommended)? (A large scheme may benefit from a number of deputies or even a small Committee)
- Do you need to appoint a Treasurer or will the Coordinator do this task? (You will need to purchase initial scheme signs, though NHW ‘roundel’ stickers for each residence will be provided free)
- Consider how to cover the costs of running the Scheme eg holding meetings or even printing your own newsletters in some cases – how will you raise funds if needed?
- How will you communicate with members and ENWA? (email is preferable but not everyone is on email). (see below for more about the ALERT system)
- How will you communicate with the Neighbourhood Police? (see below)
- How will you deal with requests for new membership?
When considering the area that a Scheme will cover, the most important criterion for this is manageability, which in turn depends on the type of neighbourhood. The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme can be for your own Road, Close, part of a Road, or perhaps a block of flats. In Eastleigh District we have schemes varying in size from 4 properties to more than 80, averaging out at about 30 per scheme. For larger schemes, or areas where houses aren’t in sight of each other, a number of Deputy Coordinators may be needed.
Talk to your neighbours to see how much interest there is in setting up a Scheme – you will need 50% or more of the households to be members if the scheme is to be viable. Every household in the target area should receive a letter from you seeking their support for setting up the Scheme. (Police stipulation is not less than 50% should be in favour). The letter should have a tear-off reply slip to be returned with full contact details (name, address, phone, email). As Proposer, you should keep these as the basis for a Membership Register.
Each Scheme requires a Coordinator and usually a (at least one) Deputy. Decide on who may be willing to become Scheme Coordinator or Deputy. The Coordinator should be on email and will be expected to sign up to the Hampshire ALERT community messaging system operated by Hampshire Police. In most new schemes, members also choose to sign up to ALERT to receive these messages directly (this maximises the speed of ALERT communication and reduces dependence upon the Coordinator to pass on this information).
If you don’t know anyone in your local Neighbourhood Policing Team, contact your local Police Station by phone (tel 101) or email Eastleigh.email@example.com. If using email, you should copy the ENWA Chairman and provide the following information:
I would like to start a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. Please ask an Officer to contact me.
Once positive responses to your letter exceed 50% you should arrange a start-up meeting (see below) for the interested parties. This may need to be held in a local school or community centre, in which case ENWA will usually pay the hire fee.
THE START-UP MEETING
The Start-Up meeting should be on an evening, Monday to Thursday, with a start time no earlier than 7.30 pm. A police presence is essential so that needs to be factored into Duty Rosters, and an NHW rep also needs to be there (ENWA will arrange this) to give guidance on how a Scheme works and answer questions.
The last item on the agenda will then be a Go/No Go decision and election of Scheme Coordinator and Deputy(ies). Signed forms will record contact information for Scheme Coordinator and Deputy(ies).
Note that Hampshire Police will usually undertake a background check to assure that the Coordinator and Deputies are acceptable. No private information will be disclosed to ENWA.
The Coordinator receives a copy of the Members Guide handbook published by National Neighbourhood Watch in conjunction with the Police. A copy of the Member’s Guide is also available online.