Help Watch your neighbourhood

AN appeal has been launched for more Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators in East Cambridgeshire.

Ely’s Neighbourhood Watch Association currently has 110 people who act as a point of contact for crime-related issues in their street.

But the organisation’s chairman, Stan Geering, says more are needed “in the light of increasing pressures on police resources”.

“Neighbourhood Watch is becoming increasingly important to help reduce burglary and other crime,” he said.

“There is little work involved but you can make a big difference.”

Mr Geering says recruiting volunteers to the position is a “long, hard process”.

He says: “We work quite hard to encourage people to come forward and set one up in the area” but that people are often put off the idea of responsibility despite being attracted by the initial idea.

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“People have busy lives, so the numbers available to do something can be in relatively short supply,” he admitted.

“However it is not an awful lot of work once you set it up and your only responsibility is to keep your eyes and ears open.”

Those who take on co-ordinator roles usually look after between 20 and 50 homes.

Their first job is to knock on their neighbours’ doors and take contact details for those that want to be involved, as well as pass on a sticker for them to put in their windows.

Co-ordinators must also hand out their contact details to residents so people can contact them about burning issues.

They are then invited to meetings at the Ely council offices once a quarter to hear presentations from police and community safety teams and raise matters of concern.

“An additional benefit is that members of a registered scheme can often claim a discount on their household insurance,” Mr Geering says.

“We are taking a proactive approach to get people from being interested to setting one up but it is a long, hard process.”

Anyone interested in setting up a scheme should contact East Cambridgeshire Neighbourhood Watch Association secretary Kevin Evans on 01353 614892 or email