Crime-ridden neighbourhoods are told by the police to Do It Yourself

17:05 by Editor · 5 Post a comment on AAWR


Teams of Neighbourhood Watch members are to be asked to do jobs previously left to the police.

The civilian groups could spy on villains, patrol crime-hit estates at night and even check car tax discs.

In some cases they would form secret groups to gather intelligence.

Details of the plan are contained in a leaked memo sent to chief constables in the last few days.

It brought immediate accusations that the Government is aiming for more policing "on the cheap".

There were also fears it could lead to community tensions, with neighbour checking on neighbour.

Today the man behind the memo - Hertfordshire Chief Constable Frank Whiteley, who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers - denied Neighbourhood Watch participation would ever take the place of real policing.

Twenty-three per cent of homes are members of Watch schemes but few play an active role.

Critics said it was significant that the suggestions for tapping the "unused energy and enthusiasm" of Neighbourhood Watch groups coincided with a Home Office report calling for a cut in police numbers.

Tory spokesman David Ruffley said: "Jacqui Smith's plan to cut police numbers in the next three years was bad enough.

"But now it seems she wants that gap filled by Neighbourhood Watch members taking on frontline policing duty.

"Neighbourhood Watches have done excellent work with the police but always as valued volunteers, not vigilantes.

"If Neighbourhood Watch members are to take on a bigger role it should be thought through properly, so they are not put in harm's way just for the sake of a quick Home Office headline."

Mr Whiteley's memo gives examples of how Neighbourhood Watch members could be used, by extending little-known initiatives which have been piloted locally.

These include an estate in Cleveland which was "plagued by drunken youths" who left residents afraid to go out after 5pm.

Neighbourhood Watch members were sent out to tour the estate after dark, in pairs. After a few months the yobs moved away.

Also in Cleveland, residents kept watch on the home of a suspected drug dealer, noting down descriptions of visitors and their car number plates to pass on to police.

In Sussex, residents are on standby to provide search teams if anyone goes missing.

And in Cambridgeshire, the Neighbourhood Watch teams provide information about untaxed cars parked in their streets. The information has led to the clamping of 17 vehicles, the document said.

In Bedfordshire, there are even "covert" Neighbourhood Watch groups, who do not display membership stickers in their windows.

They meet in secret to share information with the police.

In Cumbria, the Neighbourhood Watch sent letters to convicted criminals warning them not to trespass on private property.

The timing of the memo - titled Neighbourhood Watch in Context: A Strategic Tool for the Neighbourhood Policing Agenda - will be viewed as highly suspicious.

The Home Office report by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, also published last Thursday, said retaining the current number of fully-trained police officers was neither necessary nor financially sustainable.

The former RUC chief said many of the tasks performed by these "standing armies" - including manning police station reception desks to help distressed crime victims - should be handed to civilian staff instead.

Only 10 per cent of policing tasks require fully-trained officers, he argued.

Jan Berry, chairman of the Police Federation which represents rank-and-file officers, has warned the police could be turned into a "paramilitary force", meeting the public only in situations of confrontation.

Mr Whiteley today denied he was aiming for "policing on the cheap" - and insisted that his memo had been published several days ahead of the Flanagan report......Article conts (-)

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5 Responses to "Crime-ridden neighbourhoods are told by the police to Do It Yourself"
Anonymous said...
13 February 2008 at 09:57

If this was done as most such things are done, it would simply end in handing our country over to the crooks even more, as the little 'groups' get rolled over by the criminals and their own legal inability to fight back.

If it were done properly, it would be the new Stasi.

Neither scenario is good. What a mess!

Mr Cognisant said...
13 February 2008 at 14:00

I think Mrsmith, that it is only deterrent that prevents crime, however there are, as you know, many reasons for anti-social behaviour and crime, each i feel needs to be adddressed when tackling the problem. how are you by the way? good i hope.

Anonymous said...
13 February 2008 at 15:40

Tolerably well, thank you. And yourself?

I begin to wonder if we will ever see the end of this newspeak term 'antisocial' behaviour. Too much of this kind of socialist false speech can't be good for us.

(Off Topic - I notice you seldom make your own comments on the pieces you post. While many social ills do indeed speak for themselves and are in their very existence a sad indictment on the state of our vestigial civilisation, I think it would be good to see a little of your own take every now and again.)

Mr Cognisant said...
14 February 2008 at 18:15

For once Mr Smith, leftists have labelled correctly, some behaviour is “anti-social”, in that it is detrimental to the social group, egalitarians, could be considered thus. Of course, this was not their intention, the label masks thuggery and outright savagery, however such behaviours are anti-social in their own right.

You are of course quite right; I do tend to post without comment, I have recently changed employment and one must “earn a crust”, it leaves me much less time for posting, however most postings are self- descriptive. I will should time permit comment, however currently time is quite precious.

Have you joined the forum by the way, Forum is open to anyone with a right leaning perspective, geographical location being a non-issue, its early days although it looks promising, hope to see you there, your input would be valuable, also you are quite welcome to write for AAWR. Take care

Anonymous said...
14 February 2008 at 20:08

Ah, I see. That makes much more sense.

Of course, our anti-social is very much their pro-social, witness the new pro-homosexualist laws. The trick really is that they use something so horrific as thuggish violence as a unificatory factor to mask their true agenda of destroying society from within. As C.S. Lewis said, the devil is perfectly content to cure your chilblains if he can give you cancer in return.

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