Crime rates in Worthing – especially fraud and violent crime – have increased recently, so the importance of the Sussex Alert messaging system as a means of communicating crime information to as many people as possible has become all the greater.
It was therefore worrying to learn that, following the joint Adur & Worthing Neighbourhood Watch AGM, an apparent lack of clarity over the role of coordinators exists. Particularly disturbing was that many coordinators no longer maintain a current list of members, a fundamental element in the functioning of any scheme.
Maintenance of a list of members is not an onerous task and needs only contain the most basic information – name, phone number and email address (if they have one). This ensures that, in the event of a serious incident or emergency, they may be contacted by the coordinator, the police or NHW. It also secures the future of the scheme, since it can be transferred to a successor.
All coordinators are urged to encourage all their members with internet facilities to register online – which can be done on worthingnhw.ourwatch.org.uk – thereby reducing the need to keep physical records, except for their non-internet members.
Meanwhile Neighbourhood Watch is taking an active part in reinforcing the good work of Sussex Police through Operation Signature, which is aimed at identifying and protecting vulnerable victims of fraud.
The intention is to develop this further by providing a service for all victims, including those that reported directly to Action Fraud and have not yet received any contact from Sussex Police.
Volunteers from Neighbourhood Watch will identify non-vulnerable victims from the monthly Action Fraud victim sheets and provide them with prevention material and tailored/localised information on awareness events and fraud prevention.
They will also “target harden” those that have been victimised to prevent repeat targeting and further losses.