Welcome to our first newsletter for the Bracknell and Wokingham area. The aim is to bring you news from Thames Valley Police, other agencies and Neighbourhood Watch Nationally and locally.
NHW National news
As we have got through January and the days are starting to get slightly longer, it is beginning to feel like the 40th Anniversary year is taking off with the spring! We have been sharing information on the plans to celebrate the anniversary and will continue to update you as they unfold.
NHW Crime and Community Survey
At the end of last year, we ran our second Crime and Community Survey to better understand the impact of Neighbourhood Watch on levels of crime, fear of crime, feelings of safety, neighbourliness, community cohesion, and the current reach and diversity of Neighbourhood Watch. The Times ran a short article on Monday 31st January, highlighting the drop in confidence in the police among the public and Neighbourhood Watch members and what we and the police are doing to address this.
Some of the other highlights include shockingly one-third (34%) of those answering had been harassed, threatened, or verbally abused in the street. Despite it being the crime that most victims experienced, most people saw it as a national issue rather than a local concern.
There was a clear difference between how people viewed crimes locally and nationally, suggesting people don't think certain crimes, such as modern slavery, child exploitation, hate crime, domestic abuse and violence against women and girls, happen in their area.
We are addressing this fallacy across the organisation to ensure that members know these hidden crimes are happening in all communities and neighbourhoods. The full findings can be found in our report here.
40th Anniversary Volunteer Recognition Awards
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of Neighbourhood watch we will be running Volunteer Recognition Awards this year. There will be recognition of volunteers (Coordinators, Committee members etc.) for 5+ years, 10+ years, 25+ years and 40+ years of volunteering for Neighbourhood Watch. Nomination forms that are simple to complete for yourself or others are on our website at Volunteer Awards nominations.
Thames Valley Police Update for Neighbourhood Watch
This is a summary for the whole of TVP force area.
Some performance headlines:
· Year to date, overall crime levels are 22% higher than 2020/21 and 6% higher than 2019/20. This increase continues to be driven in the main by significant increases in public order offences and violence with injury and violence without injury offences.
· Significant reductions in crime have continued within Serious Violence, Personal Robbery and Residential Burglary (Dwellings).
· Stalking arrest and formal action taken measures are seeing significant improvements but from a low baseline.
· The domestic abuse arrest level has increased, albeit we still wish to improve how we deal with domestic abuse.
· The overall average time to answer calls remains below the three minute target.
Current Force focuses:
· Violence Against Women and Girls
· Rape, Sexual abuse and domestic abuse investigation
· Assaults on Police Officers
· Knife Crime
Communication with NHPT’s
May I suggest that we should work closely with our Neighbourhood Police Teams (NHPT). It is an important part of their job to know what is happening on their patch, and we can help by being their eyes and ears. Having a good connection with NHPT’s would encourage better reporting of crime and help to make us feel safer. Some schemes may already have this arrangement, for Coordinators who would like to meet their NHPT and would like some help from me to arrange this please get in touch and I will put in a request.
The Herbert Protocol
For those who have a loved one living with dementia it can be a great concern that they may go missing. Advice from the Police is to be prepared for such an eventuality by completing the Herbert Protocol form. It contains information useful to the police such as a description of your loved one and the places where they like to visit. You can download the form from here: https://www.met.police.uk/herbertprotocol
Cyber and Fraud Training
Fraud is by far the most common type of crime and scammers use a wide variety of methods to attempt to trick us into parting with our money, from doorstep scams to sophisticated online messages.
There are two training events coming up on cyber security awareness and fraud prevention which I sent out earlier. Fraud protection on Monday 7th March from Trading Standards and Cyber security awareness from TVP on Wednesday 9th March, both are online using zoom. Attendance is also open to the general public.
If you are interested but cannot attend this time round we plan to run them on a regular basis, probably every 3 months.
We can apply for funding of up to £250 for anything to do with crime prevention, celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee or 40 years since the creation of Neighbourhood Watch, which is a nice coincidence! Please send me any suggestions that you have and I will make enquiries.
Volunteer Recognition Awards
Finally a reminder, if you have served in Neighbourhood Watch as a Coordinator for over 5 years you are invited to register for the Volunteer recognition award for long service here Volunteer Awards nominations. You have until 13th March to apply.
If you have any problems registering for the award let me know.
Whether you have been involved for 40 years or 4 weeks, thank you!
Volunteers are the backbone of Neighbourhood Watch, especially our network of Coordinators. If you are a member or a Coordinator who would like to do more to help to keep our communities safer and make residents feel safer then please contact me. We can discuss opportunities and find something that you are interested in.
I hope you found this newsletter useful, please let me know of any topics that you would like us to cover in the next one?
Bye for now.
NHW: Area Representative - Bracknell and Wokingham