Neighbourhood watch review in North Lincs throws up some surprises
Many members of the public contributing to neighbourhood watch groups in North Lincolnshire do not know the identity of police community support officers in their area, a council report reveals today.
The review will be presented to top councillors in the controlling cabinet when they meet at Scunthorpe Civic Centre, off Ashby Road, from 5pm.
The responsibility for neighbourhood watch now rests with the council. Since the early 1980s it had been seen "as a
primarily police-led activity."
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A questionnaire was circulated to scores of neighbourhood watch co-ordinators on behalf of the council's scrutiny panel.
The review says that evidence from the questionnaire showed "an alarming" 19% of respondents did not know who their local Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) was.
And 29% of co-ordinators did not have their local PCSO's contact details.
More reassuringly, 96% of co-ordinators were aware of their local Neighbourhood Action Team (NAT).
However, 25% said they did not attend NAT meetings.
The council review was unable to identify the exact number of neighbourhood watch groups, but it is between 165 and 185. It was also unable to say with any certainty how many are currently active.
Members of the council's scrutiny panel were told North Lincolnshire has the most vibrant neighbourhood watch network in the Humberside area.
"Yet the panel was unable to determine if this was actually the case," says the report.
"This, therefore, led members to only one conclusion - that they could not prove that the current neighbourhood watch arrangements are effective, provide all co-ordinators with the support and information they need and ultimately whether it provides value for money."
However, it was unanimously agreed that all co-ordinators and groups should be applauded for the work they do on behalf of their local communities and it was hoped their "effort and endeavour would continue."
Neighbourhood watch co-ordinators distribute crime and community information leaflets to homes in their areas.
They also carry out regular crime reduction initiatives, such as property marking and the distribution of personal attack and burglar alarms.
Many groups support their communities in providing so-called youth diversionary projects, such as the Fairplay Football scheme on the Westcliff estate in Scunthorpe and in Winteringham, where the local watch group funds a worker for the youth club.
Scrutiny panel chairman Councillor Trevor Foster, of Messingham, says in his introduction to the review: "Neighbourhood Watch is undoubtedly thriving in North Lincolnshire and should continue to be actively encouraged."