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Neighbourhood Watch

Published Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Neighbourhood Watch was first introduced into Britain in 1982. It works by developing close liaison between households in a neighbourhood and the local police. The schemes are known as either Neighbourhood Watch or Home Watch.

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Schemes run themselves, and they do not have to register with the Government. However there is a register of coordinators and schemes across England and Wales, known as the Neighbourhood Watch Register, which is described in more detail in Section 3 of the full report.

The movement works through Force Level Associations which are supported by a national organisation, the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network. The Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network was formed in 2007. A previous national charity, the National Neighbourhood Watch Association, was wound up in 2006 following funding difficulties and controversy.

As part of its policies on the Big Society and on police reform, the Coalition Government expressed the desire to encourage more participation in Neighbourhood Watch and similar schemes, as has Baroness Newlove, now the Victims’ Commissioner and formerly Government champion for active and safer communities.  


The Home Office does not fund individual Neighbourhood Watch schemes, although it does provide funding for the national organisation. The Government also funds public liability insurance for those involved in local schemes. From April 2012 the Home Office passed on responsibility for Public Liability Insurance to the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network.

Commons Briefing papers SN04161

Authors: Pat Strickland; Sarah Pepin

Topic: Crime

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