Paul Macey, Deputy Chair for Nottinghamshire Neighbourhood Watch (NottsWatch), welcomed guests to the 2016 Conference. He introduced this year’s theme of Developing Community Partnerships by saying we can all improve our community by developing partnerships with our neighbours, council and police; even if it’s only a chat over the garden fence. He introduced Cllr Glynn Gilfoyle, chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Community Safety Committee to say a few words of welcome.
Cllr Gilfoyle spoke about his role and that he was happy he could support NottsWatch with time and funding and hoped for a continuing partnership through the coming years. He had taken every opportunity to lobby at a political level for resources to strengthen our organisation. He also praised the work of all neighbourhood watch (NHW) coordinators, saying “We need more of the great citizens of Nottinghamshire, like you here present today, right across the county to build on this great work.” He then explained about his support for a recently agreed “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) describing this as “a huge step forward in showing a willingness and commitment between us as a Council and NottsWatch in working toward shared objectives and principles of collaboration.”
Cllr Gilfoyle said that he had been asked, in a radio interview, how important (1-10) NHW is to a community – he answered 10. He also acknowledged the good works that Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s current Police & Crime Commissioner, has achieved since taking office in November 2012.
- Maria Cooke, Development Manager for Age UK Nottingham/Nottinghamshire spoke of the dangers of loneliness. She warned it is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being obese and sadly, over a million people in the UK have not communicated with anyone in the last month – that’s about 40,000 people in Nottinghamshire. Age UK offer a range of services, to older people, to assist them with continuing living in their own homes for as long as possible. Maria’s presentation can be viewed here.
- Lynn Farrar, Vice Chair of Neighbourhood Watch Network spoke of the recent changes NHWN have brought in and the differences in the regional operations for NHW. She confirmed that NottsWatch met all their criteria to be awarded a temporary licence to use their new copyrighted logo. Lynn explained their new website is smart phone friendly but still under A search facility will follow. She invited users to contact her with suggestions to improve the site. Lynn’s presentation can be viewed here.
- Paddy Tipping, Police & Crime Commissioner firstly greeted the four candidates, attending the conference, who will also be standing for the role in the upcoming election on 5 May. He spoke of his role and how he has been happy to support NottsWatch and assured members that NHW does make a difference.
Paddy thanked the Police force, represented at the Conference by the Police Cadets and Chief Inspector Richard Stapleford, Lead for Citizens in Policing, and spoke of the vital relationship between the police and Neighbourhood Watch. Paddy explained that whilst burglary and car crime were down, new crimes had emerged:
- Terrorism – Following discussions with the Home Office and other police forces across the country, Nottinghamshire now has an improved armed response.
- Online fraud – Notts Police have invested heavily and are bringing in experts to keep us protected.
- Historic sexual abuse – There are major enquiries in nearly every city in the country, including Nottingham.
Much resource has been invested to tackle these crimes and with a reduction in the Government grant of £55 million over four years, painful decisions have had to be made. Front line policing has been affected but not nearly as much as some other areas. Paddy admitted that, historically, the police were not good about knowing who their customers are but, despite cuts, under Chief Constable Chris Eyre’s guidance, Notts is now the fastest improved police force and one of the top forces in the country.
Paddy also spoke about reducing Anti-Social Behaviour by 36% in the past three years, but agreed there is more to be done by working with other organisations. Paddy wants to further improve the way Domestic Violence is tackled. The police are now working with partners and HMIC recently inspected the police and agreed the police were making good progress liaising with GPs.
Paddy spoke of his intention for having joined up criminal systems – Police, Crime Prosecution Service and Courts. Currently they have separate computer systems leading to wasted resource and delays. Also improvements with mental health – introducing a mental health nurse accompanying police to provide care, not custody.
Paddy concluded by thanking Neighbourhood Watch saying we contributed towards making safe, strong communities. Together we can take the challenge and make changes for a better future for our children and grandchildren.
- Sam Boote, Trustee for NottsWatch is our latest recruit to the Management Board and recently co-opted as a trustee. Sam previously served for 16 years as a member of Rushcliffe Borough Council representing the people of Keyworth, and also served on Keyworth Parish Council. He has also set up the Police Priority Setting Group (Keyworth and East Leake.) Sam spoke about the purpose of NHW saying neighbourhood policing is all about partnership between the police and the community and spoke of the improving relationship between the police and NHW. (This is detailed in the Chairman’s report to the AGM.)
Sam then explained how he set about setting up his NHW scheme in Keyworth and that, whilst it is difficult to measure if NHW works, crime in Keyworth is low and decreasing.
Sam finished by discussing the future of NHW and the commitment from volunteers and the police needed to keep it alive.
Q & A with above panel of speakers
Subjects discussed included:
- internet fraud
- NHW coordinators
- change in Beat managers
- alerts system
- reluctance to report crime, so as not to affect house prices.
Future of NottsWatch
Our Chairman, John Wood, rounded up the conference by saying we shall:
- carry on with the project to encourage new NHW schemes,
- continue examining the database and attempt to bring it up to date,
- continue to work with the national Neighbourhood Watch Network to achieve common objectives
- continue to develop partnerships with other community-facing organisations.
- However, of special priority, we will attempt to improve the two-way flow of crime information between the Police & NottsWatch, which is “patchy” (good in some areas, non-existent in others), and to use the Service Level Agreement to work with the Police in order to develop a common process for issuing such crime information to Coordinators, so that meaningful feedback to the Police from NHW members is the result.