Neighbourhood Watch started here in the UK in the late 80s of the last century. It’s popularity has had its ups and downs and in some quarters it has gained a rather unfavourable reputation of curtain twitchers, busy bodies and nosey parkers.
The fundamental idea, though, is that we all look out for each other and act as the eyes and ears of the police. In practice this has proved somewhat difficult principally due to using old technology for communications - paper newsletters and landline telephones.
But we are now well into the 21st century and we have the internet and emails. Not only that but we have smart phones and tablets too which can take pictures and videos on the move and keep people updated in real time.
And we have tools too, like our new messaging system OWL.
It’s been around for a while now, starting in Hertfordshire and there are moves to get all the London Boroughs on board.
Here are a couple of recent news reports:
- 9 Feb 2016: 10,0000 homes fully registered in Hertfordshire to receive alerts! The most in any county in Britain.
- 23 Sep 2015: Half of all homes signed up to OWL in Three Rivers - that's 20,000!
- 4 Mar 2016: Police ask 11,000 homes in Dacorum to find a car that failed to stop. Within a few hours an OWL watch member responds helping the police locate the vehicle.
- 7 Sep 2015: Kensington & Chelsea Borough use OWL and achieved highest level of confidence in police in London!
- 17 Jun 2015: Missing 11 year old boy in Stevenage found by watch member after seeing photo via OWL. Sgt Hutchin said "He was located some distance from the school where the police search was being concentrated, so without OWL and the response from this member we would not have been able to locate him so quickly."
- Dec 2014: Drug dealer with machete in pub fight sentenced to 3.5 years after being identified by an OWL member from CCTV image.
But you don't have to be a watch member to participate on OWL - what's not to like? Sign up now!