For nearly 30 years Neighbourhood Watch has existed and become one of the biggest voluntary organisations in the country, this week Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens celebrate its success in reducing crime and making our areas safer.
As part of Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) week a new national Neighbourhood and Home Watch Awards has been launched and two NHW Coordinators in Avon and Somerset have been selected as finalists for their outstanding work. 77-year-old Hazel Dunn, from Bristol, has been recognised in the ‘Partnership Working’ category for her outstanding achievements within her watch area. Working with local families, police and other partners, she has tackled a range of issues that have affected her local community including kerb crawling, drug crime and littering.
The second nominee is Liz Kew, in the ‘Environmental Improvement’ category. Liz has been a member of Neighbourhood Watch since 1987. She has worked as Area Co-ordinator to maintain six active NHW schemes.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “It is fantastic news that two outstanding Neighbourhood Watch volunteers such as Hazel and Liz to be shortlisted in the national Neighbourhood and Home Watch Awards. Their dedication and support is truly inspiring.”
Chief Constable Nick Gargan said: "As a police service, we need to do everything possible to fully support the work Neighbourhood Watch is doing in communities. Local people know better than anyone how their neighbourhoods could be improved and where the problems lie, as both Hazel and Liz have clearly demonstrated.
“Congratulations to them both and I wish them the very best of luck tonight.”
Both co-ordinators were put forward by Wendy Hull, the chair of Bristol NHW Network and Chair of the SW Region NHW Forum.
Talking about Hazel Dunn’s impressive work obtaining grants to make local improvements and petitioning for double yellow lines to make things more difficult for kerb crawlers, Wendy Hull said: “Her efforts continue to benefit the whole area, improve the local environment and help to reduce the fear of crime for local residents.”
Liz Kew has developed close working relationships with her local police and neighbourhood partnership. As well as working hard to improve Gloucester Road, the longest high street of independent trader’s in the country. By obtaining numerous grants and visiting each trader in person, she has been able to raise money to buy specialist cleaning materials allowing environmental improvement work to take place.
Wendy Hull said Liz Kew works tirelessly for her community, “her dedication to supporting her community, empowering others and sometimes just getting things done herself has really transformed her local area,” she added.
Both Liz Kew and Hazel Dunn will be attending the awards tonight, June 18, at the Palace of Westminster in London.
Nearly one in four homes are currently benefiting from the increased security of knowing someone is looking out for them and keeping an eye on their property through Neighbourhood Watch.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens added: “Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) plays a vital role in helping to keep our communities safe and reducing crime.
“With over 100,000 homes represented in Neighbourhood Watch schemes within Avon and Somerset it really shows the power of local people in preventing crime. Residents are often the ‘eyes and ears’ for the police and other agencies and the various watch schemes such as Neighbourhood, Rural, Business and Pub Watch all give people different ways to be involved in helping their local area.
Chief Constable Nick Gargan added: "For nearly 30 years, Neighbourhood Watch members have been taking action to improve their local area and reduce crime. Neighbourhood Watch Week is about celebrating the success and impact of schemes throughout the country and encouraging more people to get involved.”
Groups are owned and run by local residents not, as many people believe, the police. For information about joining or starting a scheme in your local area visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk or call your local Neighbourhood Watch Administrator on 101.
You can also visit the national website www.ourwatch.org.uk.