Neighbourhood Watch
Fri 27 May 2022
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Running a Scheme

Setting aims & objectives for your scheme

One of the most important steps when starting up a scheme is to decide on its aims and objectives. Here is a simple four-step process for setting the aims and objectives of your scheme.

Step 1
Identify the problems

Your first step in setting up a Neighbourhood Watch or Home Watch must be to ask: ‘What do we want to achieve in our street, neighbourhood or estate?’ Think about the specific problems you have and how Neighbourhood Watch can help reduce them.

The easiest way of doing this is, of course, to ask your neighbours and other local residents. You might also want to look at your area’s crime statistics on

Step 2
Decide what you can do

Once you have identified the problems, think about what your Neighbourhood Watch group might be able to do to help solve them or improve the situation.

Step 3
How can you make it happen?

Think about the resources that will help you to carry out your planned activities. Resources don’t just mean money; they also include things like time, space for meetings, and access to resources such as stationery and printers.

Step 4
Will our activities really help to solve the problems?

If your plans do not meet your original expectations, it is important that you alter them before you put them into action.

Maintaining your scheme

Each year you should review your scheme to ensure that it is achieving its goals. Start by looking at your original expectations and the activities you decided on.

Depending on the result of your review, you could change your activities and their emphasis to ensure that your scheme remains responsive to the needs of its members. It’s important that you don’t treat your original plans as set in stone.

Neighbourhood Watch Associations

You should have already contacted your force area Neighbourhood Watch Association – if there is one covering your area – when you set the scheme up. However, you may want to get together with nearby schemes to form a smaller Association, or just meet or communicate to share good practice.

The first step is to make contact with neighbouring coordinators. Either your force area Association or the police should be able to help you with this. Then you can decide whether you want to hold regular meetings or stay in touch some other way.

Relaunching a scheme

Sadly some Neighbourhood Watch schemes do become inactive. If your Neighbourhood Watch group is ready to close, there is little point in sitting in a room talking over who did or didn’t do what, why it had no support and what else went wrong. Your scheme needs to be reconsidered step by step and given a new character.

Revitalising your Scheme

Before you start, there is one rule you must follow if you don’t want the whole exercise to be a waste of time – look at the scheme, not the members. It is essential that you concentrate on why the scheme failed and not on the people in the scheme.

At the beginning of this document, there were four steps to consider when starting up a new scheme. You will need to go through the same steps:

  • When you first started the scheme, what were the expectations – what did people hope to gain from the scheme?
  • What activities were there to support the scheme?
  • What were the commitments in terms of time, resources and finance?
  • Were your activities and commitments enough to meet the expectations you agreed on?

Having listed your expectations, activities and commitments, the next stage is to look at each item and ask: ‘Did we achieve this or not? If not, can it be put right?’

Try and think of the good things you achieved and work out how you can build on them to relaunch the scheme.

Changing the Image

While you obviously need to keep the title ‘Neighbourhood Watch’, you could slightly expand the scheme’s area and alter its name, even if it covers virtually the same area. You can also change the image by altering the design of your newsletter or publicity material. You could consider setting up a website.

When you consider the timing of your relaunch, try to take advantage of local events. For example, a spate of burglaries, although not the happiest of circumstances, would present an opportune time to relaunch. Or a local event where lots of people are gathered together is a good opportunity to create enthusiasm.

Keeping it Going

Keep checking that you are still on course to achieve your objectives. Consider reviewing your position every three months, at least in the initial stages.