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Tony Allen

Security in the current Economic Climate

Thu 4 Nov 2010

By Tony Allen
Firstly, thank you to everyone who visited the Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) stand at the Bovey Tracey Horticultural Society Show in August. There was a very noticeable increase in interest in setting up NHW schemes in various locations in and around Bovey. Perhaps this can be attributed to concern about the possibilities for increased criminal activity because of the recession and impending public sector cutbacks, which may include severe chunks of policing budgets. Whatever the reason, please do come forward if you have a desire to see a scheme in place for your road or surrounding area.

Is NHW for you?..........

The great thing about NHW is that it's about raising the quality of life in your community and neighbourhood. There is no compulsion to set one up, as it is run on a purely voluntary basis by members of the public for themselves, and there is no mandate from authority about how NHW schemes shall be organised and run. The amount of effort put in is up to those in the scheme. In some cases Residents Associations may also be providing key elements of what NHW is all about.

Outside assistance..........

NHW is recognised by the police as a very strong vehicle for communities in the fight against crime, as it focuses on crime prevention and represents those parts of the population where it is unrealistic to expect the police to have a day-to-day presence. As such, all police forces have established neighbourhood policing teams, reporting via a sergeant to an Area Inspector, with support of NHW as a key part of their remit. Here in Bovey Tracey, the Town Council also recognises the importance of NHW to the well-being of the town, and asked me to be its official representative on the Bovey Tracey NHW Forum, which I also lead. All the Bovey NHW Co-ordinators are part of the Forum, and are invited to attend Forum meetings and associated activities with the police and other agencies as and when they happen (on an as-needs-be basis).

The "It would take up too much time" myth..........

This is often given as an excuse for not getting involved with NHW, or indeed for setting up a scheme in the first place. If you talk to most NHW co-ordinators, I think they would say that it was fairly easy to get started, and has had knock-on benefits in terms of neighbours getting to know each other better, and look out for each other. Those living alone, the elderly, the infirm or disabled, or otherwise vulnerable people can be identified and, if willing, can be helped out and advised about local issues (not just crime) that may affect them. Some organise annual street get-togethers to update each other on any changes and other matters residents have experienced or want action on.

Getting started..........

Your local Police Community Support Officers (Paul Wilson in the case of Bovey Tracey, and Tina Jordan for Heathfield) are able to assist in this, as am I. To start with, a visit from one of us, and it is usually me, can set the ball rolling. If it is deemed to be the right thing, and one or more people are identified as the leaders for this, this can be followed up by a visit from one of the PCSOs and me, when we can go through the process (e.g. about notifying neighbours, handing out briefing material, organising NHW signs, registering the scheme with the police for communications about crime in the area, setting up a kick-off meeting for the scheme). From that point it should all be plain sailing, and the scheme can begin to look after itself.

Festive season coming up!..........

By the time this magazine hits the doormats, people will be planning their Christmas card lists, presents, parties, decorations, family visits, and more. So it is timely to mention what to some may seem to be stating the obvious. Please don't leave Christmas gifts on display in cars or in ground floor windows. This could be an open invitation to an opportunist thief to help himself either then or later.

Christmas parties in pubs and restaurants are a great occasion to have fun, and perhaps a drink or two too many. This can also provide opportunities for thieves and pickpockets, especially with wallets sticking out of back pockets and handbags left beside chairs or under tables. These are easy pickings for well versed fingers, and can create a lot of misery for victims. So please be aware and sensible for yourself and your friends/colleagues.

The pressure of Christmas shopping in the crowds with all the family including small children can also lead to wandering attention with purses left on shopping trolleys and credit cards left on counters at check-outs and tills. These can quickly disappear into someone else's pocket or bag, so it does no harm to be on your guard in these situations.

You may be offered things to buy by merchants or people knocking on your door (or even on certain internet shopping web sites) that may seem very attractive before the festive season gets underway. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is, so buyer beware. Please check out anything like this with a trusted friend, or otherwise you may be rueing your mistake afterwards.

Contacts for NHW..........

You can contact me by writing to me c/o Bovey Tracey Town Council, Town Hall, Bovey Tracey TQ13 9EG, by email to bowdens.nhw@btinternet.com, or by ringing me on 01626 836239. Email is my preferred method please.

To contact our Chudleigh police station based PCSO's (Paul and Tina) please email chudleigh@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk (this can also be used for PCSO Carl Thomas for the Moretonhampstead area, remembering this magazine is distributed there too!).

Closing comments........

At the end of the day, your security is mainly down to you, your awareness, your involvement with your surroundings and with those around you, and the preventative actions you put in place by taking security seriously. NHW can help here, by communicating crimes in the area and trends in criminal activity (including eCrime) while encouraging you to look out for yourself and your family, friends and neighbours.

So if you are thinking about becoming part of NHW in Bovey Tracey or Heathfield, please make contact, and we can have a discussion about it. We are willing to help if we can.

 



Other columns by Tony Allen

TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” - Tue 9 Nov 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” GETTING INVOLVED WITH YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL - Mon 2 Aug 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” BOVEY THANKS VOLUNTEERS & “LIFELINE” SHOPS - Mon 14 Jun 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” BREATHS OF FRESH AIR ALL AROUND - Tue 7 Jul 2020
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” COMMUNITY COHESION………………… - Tue 11 Feb 2020
CLIMATE ACTION: WHERE DO YOU START?.......... - Mon 2 Dec 2019
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON IN OUR LOCAL COUNCILS…? - Thu 1 Aug 2019
BOVEY TRACEY ACHIEVES “PLASTIC FREE” STATUS........... - Fri 3 May 2019
IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE........ - Thu 24 Jan 2019
COMMUNITY MATTERS - “PLASTIC FREE BOVEY”, RARE PRAISE, ELECTIONS - Thu 8 Nov 2018
Young people in the community - Thu 15 May 2014
Moving Bovey Tracey forward - Tue 4 Mar 2014
Is Bovey Tracey too shabby and run down to attract visitors? - Mon 9 Sep 2013
A public consultation should be just that - Mon 11 Mar 2013
Athletes, young people and rural watch - Tue 13 Nov 2012
Bovey Beats Most Of The Summer Weather - Wed 5 Sep 2012
What sort of Town do you want Bovey to be? - Sun 1 Jul 2012
Awards, Traffic, Policing & another Top Shop! - Thu 3 May 2012
GOOD NEWS, SPECULATION, AND MORE GOOD NEWS - Thu 5 Jan 2012
RUBBISH, SPEED, LIGHTS OUT, BADGERS and more! - Mon 7 Nov 2011
Newspapers, Tragedy, Cheques and MORE! - Sun 11 Sep 2011
Community Matters - Mon 11 Jul 2011
Growth of Neighbourhood Watch In Bovey Tracey - Tue 3 May 2011
Which would you rather have: A PC (Police Commissioner) OR Several PCs (Police Constables)? - Thu 10 Mar 2011
Helping Ourselves In Time Of Austerity - Sun 9 Jan 2011
Security Matters - Spelling it Out - Mon 6 Sep 2010
The Ultimate Deterrent or Not - Tue 6 Jul 2010
NHS Summary Care Records  Will Your Personal Health Information Be Secure? - Mon 3 May 2010
Social Networking - A risk or a good thing? - Sun 28 Feb 2010
Security Matters - Back to Basics! - Thu 3 Dec 2009
Security matters - are you being conned? - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - ID cards and hotel key cards - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - Personal security - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Who owns your identity? - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Victim of crime - need help? - Wed 4 Nov 2009


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