phone snatching

phone snatching

A menace feared by almost every phone owner today.

Opportunist thieves, usually on bikes, cycle around busy spots and look for easy victims to snatch a phone out of their hands.

Busy places like bus stops, outside of pubs, pedestrian areas, all of which have easy cyclist access are among those targeted.

All the thief looks out for is

how you stand, how they can get away, how easy it is to snatch your phone without being pulled off their bikes. or if on foot, how quick they can run off without being caught.

Of course, we all do it, check for messages, use the taxi app, banking app, the map, answer and make calls. That is what a phone is for.

Other thieves are targeting known users of luxury phone brands and do not shy away from using threats to life to get the phone handed over.

Question is what can we do to avoid falling victim to a phone snatcher. The answer isn’t easy.

Victim blaming is never a good idea but we need to think how we can prevent the phone being taken.

For many, the value of the phone is secondary to the tragic loss of personal photos and files and the whole inconvenience of having to buy a new phone.

First principle always has to be your personal safety.

What solutions are available?

another option is Immobilise marking
  • CCTV is only useful if the perpetrator is known and can be clearly seen and identified.
  • Rendering the phone useless after it has been stolen is not currently available because if it was, the thefts would stop, unless of course thieves steal phones for their material value.
  • Targeting known re-sale outlets (this was successfully implemented by police for stolen bikes)

In the meantime, how can we prevent our phone being stolen?

  • Always be alert
  • never hold your phone away from your body whilst holding it in one hand
  • Prior to looking at apps, check the area around you, if necessary stand in a less approachable position or area.
  • Keep the phone inside a bag, so it cannot be seen
  • Use smart water to mark your phone

If your phone has been stolen always immediately report to police, to your phone service provider and all banks and related institutions connected to your phone use.

Most people do not have the presence of mind to remember the details of the thieve as they concentrate on their phone at the moment of theft.

Efficiency of Ward Panels

Efficiency of Ward Panels

To obtain the best results from ward panel meetings we recommend that each panel has an agenda that as closely as possible resembles the recommended agenda, as stated in the Ward Panel Handbook on page 15.

  1. Apologies and Introductions
  2. Minutes and actions from the last meeting
  3. Police actions on the previous priorities
  4. Police report on crime, ASB, ward panel survey results and activity
  5. Community concerns
  6. Agreeing priorities and actions on them
  7. evaluating and suggesting community contact sessions
  8. any other business
  9. date of the next meeting

It proves very beneficial if point 4 gets processed in each meeting because the majority of ward residents use the survey rather than attend in person. If all those in attendance get to know that certain points are already known through the survey, then that frees up time for other issues and those in attendance do not have to highlight this again.

Ward Priorities cannot be set by the panel if survey results are not being disclosed to the panel.

The Ward Panel Handbook states throughout the composition of membership should be wide-reaching and include local partners as well as representatives of community groups.

  • page 10 the ward panel structure
  • page 11 – 12 recommends community representation
  • page 17 – 21 crime comparisons are very important to highlight types of crime and how they varied over time

Point 5 Community concerns can be wide-reaching and include anything from ASB to Hate etc.

Community Contact sessions, in point 7, can be addressed with Councillors attending and together with point 6, each SNT Team can actually request Assurance Patrols in conjunction with registered Police volunteers.

We ask all of you to actively communicate with your Ward Panel chair or SNT officer in charge to request an effective ward panel procedure.

Reporting concerns

Reporting concerns

We see it every day. People post on social media sites, film, pics of alleged perpetrators.

  • A person is shown taking a package from a door
  • A man with dogs is accused of paedophilia because he walks out at school runs
  • reports of criminal activities, but going to report later
  • Requests for information of individual in pictures whilst accusing them of a crime

Putting such content on social media harms our safety.

All of those can land you in court.

Accusing others of a crime and not having this processed via proper law enforcement can lead to mob law, sentiments of lynching and taking justice and judging into our own hands.

If you know about a crime and do not report it, you can be prosecuted for hindering the police.

Breaches of privacy and accusations of libel can be made against you if you post pictures of others on social media because you accuse them of a crime but they have not been convicted.

You may not want to report to police directly, so please use our anonymous reporting form and send your pictures, description and concerns and we will gladly forward this to police. Your details will not be recorded and the accused will not be published anywhere but to police.

Again, we would strongly encourage to not provide any evidence to individuals asking for this because they allege a crime has been committed. You may find yourself giving information to agents of other countries or crime syndicates, collecting intelligence about a person if you do.

All crime must be reported to police and a crime reference number obtained and then all evidence collected must be handed to police with that reference number.

Never give any evidence to individuals asking but only give to police or provide anonymously for passing on to police.

We have a record number of police officers in service now and the more concise and correct information you provide the easier it will be for law enforcement to process your reports.

All emergencies must be reported to 999 at all times.

See our reporting page for more information

Promotional material to support local watch groups

Promotional material to support local watch groups

We have campaign materials available for your local watch. Link to order form at the bottom of page

order stickers using the form . You must be approved/verified to get stickers.

1. Window/Door stickers
The Neighbourhood Watch stickers have Cyberhood Watch on the back but the back can also be used on doors or other surfaces instead but they are not water proof and can be peeled off.

2. Promo cards

A6 format glossy cards with essential information to hand out anywhere.

3. Recruitment leaflets

give to neighbours encouraging them to join your watch group

4. Community Safety Charter. Use this on social media to promote our aims.


5. Home Security

Windows locked
Interior lights on a timer
Doors double or deadlocked
Exterior lights on a sensor
Neighbours keep an eye out


Please note,

6. Table top upright banner. Comes with a metal base and packs away neatly when not in use. You can impress people at meetings with this neat banner, which we will adjust and have your watch name inserted.

  • 1. Stickers
    • See above, please advise how many you need.
  • 2. Promo Cards A6
    • Give those cards to anyone you want to remember where to register for Neighbourhood Watch
  • 3. Recruitment leaflets A5
    • drop them through neighbours letter boxes to make them aware that a Neighbourhood Watch exists in your area and invite them to join online
  • 4. Community Safety Charter
    • our pledge of support
  • 5. Home Security leaflets
    • A reminder to keep the home safe whether we are in or out
  • 6. Upright banners A3
    • These table top banners can be stood onto a table during Neighbourhood Watch meetings or meetings of a Residents Association to show Neighbourhood Watch support.

Order here

order form please click through

Think crime prevention

Think crime prevention

Once you are registered with Ourwatch you have the choice of various service providers. These include:

Action Fraud (NFIB) (Recommended)
Fire & Rescue Service
Get Safe Online
Local Authority
Neighbourhood Watch (Recommended)
Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner
The Police (Recommended)
Trading Standards

Repelling crime through positive community action like communicating with your neighbours helps your local community develop.

The Neighbourhood Watch platform gives you essential tools to make your community saver. See the example of how a local community helps to banish crime from their area in issue two of Scam Interceptors on BBC, they show a sample Neighbourhood Watch and recommend that people join us. Yippee

In many areas, its a small number of people who commit most of the crime especially burglary (home) (car crime) . If criminals feel they can harvest your neighbourhood for goods or use it as base for County lines drug trafficking or other crimes, then they will do so.

Issues vary from area to area, hence we cannot give blanket solutions. You will need to get together with your neighbours and talk about what’s going on in your area. Draw up a risk assessment and a solutions flow chart

Ourwatch gives you the opportunity and tools to do this safely. Neighbourhood Watch helps you to be as inclusive as possible and give community members a platform to participate in many activities, hence preventing social isolation, which can be a driver for leaning towards crime and/or exacerbate mental health problems. Fraud prevention encourages more people to be less vulnerable and tell scammers to go away.

See a range of activities you can do with locals for very little cost. Neighbourhood Watch has proven beneficial to neighbourhoods for 40 years now.

Celebrating the Diamond Queen’s Jubilee during Neighbourhood Watch week, is taking positive action. We support one local Neighbourhood Watch group please see their website for details of the event.

New ASB strategy

New ASB strategy

Tower Hamlets Council, has made changes to Safer Neighbourhood Operations (SNO) team. Click through to our page about ASB prevention to see full details with tips how to report and deal with the issue, if it affects you and/or your neighbours.

The borough has been divided into four main areas

  1. Yellow area
    • Bethnal Green East
    • Bethnal Green West
    • Weavers
    • Spitalfields and Banglatown
  2. Red area
    • Whitechapel
    • Stepney Green
    • St. Katherine’s & Wapping
    • Shadwell
  3. Pink area
    • Bow West
    • Bow East
    • Bromley North
    • Bromley South
    • St. Dunstans
    • Mile End
  4. Blue area
    • Limehouse
    • Lansbury
    • Poplar
    • Canary Wharf
    • Blackwell & Cubitt Town
    • Island Gardens

All four areas have dedicated Tower Hamlets ASB officers. Your Met Police SNT Ward areas stay the same. See details here.

The borough council services will include

  • Community Engagement Bus, as base for patrolling officers from both council and police officers.
  • CCTV Van
  • Six mobile CCTV cameras, which can change location and be fixed to various areas of concern
  • Five knife bins
  • Three Neighbourhood Enforcement & Treatment (NET) officers
  • Additional Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers (THEOs) – focussing on youth and women’s safety
  • Hostel Relations Manager – for a link between Brick Lane and wider partnership, also to effectively manage complex dug users
  • Women’s safety walks. You may also ask for Walks & Talks with police officers and use the Streetsafe facility on the Met Police website.

Help improve fire safety in Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets Housing Forum and London Fire Brigade are working together to promote fire safety in our borough, and we want to involve residents in getting the message out.
We are making a series of short films where you can discuss your fire safety concerns or issues that you’ve experienced with someone from London Fire Brigade. They will offer advice and guidance to help you.
 The content that we create will be used across social channels and partner websites to promote fire safety and signpost residents to further sources of information and advice.
 We are looking for up to 10 community contributors, from a range of backgrounds to represent the diversity of Tower Hamlets.
We will be offering a £50 voucher, as  a  thank you to everyone who participates in the project.
 Closing date for applications 31 March 2022

For more information, contact: Lisa McCann,

 Fire Safety Team Leader

t. 07984451667


A lack of service

We have come across a number of issues, which show that neither police or MOPAC show the required duty of care to local residents.

There are many complaints, expression of uncertainties, frustrations voiced on various social media platforms, which do not result in action by police or MOPAC.

Just recently a user of NextDoor posted this leaflet that had been put through their door in the St. Lukes Neighbourhood (NextDoor region) and it shows an out-of-date leaflet with a Neighbourhood Watch logo that is no longer in use. No wonder people think the leaflet is a scam. It proves that police just do not up-date their material to be in line with current procedures.

Actually police no longer work closely with Neighbourhood Watch and have lost an important relationship to local people.

That being out of touch culminated in the abhorrent search of a young pupil in a Hackney school, for which police again had to issue an apology. That comes after the Wayne Couzens apology already been given and not accepted by MOPAC.

Though MOPAC delivered a notice of no trust in the Commissioner Cressida Dick, we are not certain that the Commissioner is the main reason for the lack of care.

Mopac themselves do not monitor the Neighbourhood Watch capabilities of the London Boroughs. We have sent numerous complaints, which have been answered but issues were not addressed. The latest agenda of the Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhood Board again, stoically invites a representative for Neighbourhood Watch who has not attended any meetings during the last two years and who is not involved in Neighbourhood Watch. The Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhood Board refuses to allow the Neighbourhood Watch Association to speak on behalf of Neighbourhood Watch.

As one of our articles clearly shows, the one time police worked closely and interactively with Neighbourhood Watch started 10 years ago, and then the crime rate dipped significantly. As soon as MOPAC supported OWL, the crime rate stayed permanently high, apart from seasonal and Covid dips. It is a matter of attitude and tools used how effective the relationship between police and local people can improve the situation.

This proves to us that MOPAC has no right to merely blame the Commissioner for all the shortcomings in policing.

We have endlessly argued with police and MOPAC that they need to purchase the license to use Ourwatch / Neighbourhood Alert, as most police forces in England do and those forces have far lower crime rates than we do. OWL has become synonymous with high crime rates. Whilst police give us the permission to administer the membership on the Ourwatch platform, the police themselves use OWL, which has no connection to Neighbourhood Watch groups in the borough, other than sending out occasional newsletters to those who have subscribed to the service.

We want to urge all those who care, to register with Ourwatch, join the association and help improve our local crime rates. Unfortunately as it looks at present police will prescribe only to social media platforms, which have the most subscribers. We must however make it quite clear that a subscription to NextDoor, Facebook alone, does not give you membership with Neighbourhood Watch unless you are actually registered with Neighbourhood Watch on the Ourwatch platform and verified with the borough association.

We do see the frustrations voiced on the social media platforms but to effectively achieve changes we need to work together with the borough association to get this done.

Neighbourhood Watch

is an important initiative, which enables Neigbhours to improve their feeling of owning their Neighbourhoods. Whilst making each other stronger through like-minded conversations, based around crime reduction and well-being, that feeling of always being victims of Anti-social behaviour or crime can be combatted by active neighbour collaborations.

The Met Business Plan 2020-23 mentions some initiatives like Street watch and School watch.

“Over the course of 2019/20, we promoted crime prevention by supporting numerous community initiatives. Street Watch involves local volunteers assisted on patrols, events and road closures, missing persons, weapons sweeps, days of action and leaflet drops. School Watch, a scheme initiated by Safer Schools officers, mobilises the school community (schools staff, parents, sixth formers, etc.) to promote safety and reassurance for children, providing visibility as pupils travel home from school, preventing anti-social behaviour and crime on that route.”

School watch is easily enabled with the presence of officers in schools who can attend assemblies and parents evenings.

Street watch is often enabled via the MET volunteer scheme, which can be attended by those not having to work at the time of the activity. As MET volunteer to get allocated a volunteer number and get regular invitations to participate.

Operation Venice was mentioned by one user on NextDoor today as a good way of making your phone theft part of this scheme, aimed at combatting Motor-cycle based crime.

“Crime prevention is embedded in all parts of our operational activity. Moped-enabled crime in London reduced by 42.5 per cent since the inception of Operation Venice. This activity was supported by two communication campaigns: Lock, Chain, Cover – prevention campaign aimed at promoting greater security for powered two-wheeler scooters and moped, and Look up. Look out – crime prevention campaign targeted at robbery utilising disruptive approaches such as mobile ads designed to pop up and encourage people distracted by their phones to be more aware of their surroundings and to keep valuables out of sight.”

For those who can attend regular meetings and who have an interest in helping police devise new strategies the Independent Advisory Groups IAGs are ideal.

“In efforts to improve confidence and satisfaction amongst some communities where it is lower, we implemented a number of changes. The Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) set up a new Independent Advisory Group with a wide range of community members from across London to advise
on a range of challenging issues such as the manner in which the Met responds to public complaints and officer misconduct. The IAG members are also part of high profile operational Gold Groups to provide critical friend advice and guidance. We also launched our first cohort of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual plus (LGBT+) advisers who work proactively with partners and the public to increase community engagement, crime prevention and active citizenship in order to build trust and

We’d support all these schemes, but none can replace the residents led Neighbourhood Watch schemes because talking to your neighbours cannot be replaced by anything else.

All these schemes like

  • street watch
  • school watch
  • IAG
  • Gold groups

as mentioned above are police run schemes and rely on their management of it.

Neighbourhood Watch in contrast is perpetually run by Neighbours who organise themselves and are run by Neighbours themselves. Your police run scheme may become redundant after a couple of years but Neighbourhood Watch continues to exist, as it does already since 40 years. We do run Street parties for the Queen’s Jubilee or organise litter picks, food distribution in times of hardship and do many other activities like tree planting and keeping areas nice.

We need reliable, safety conscious individuals to set up and run schemes.

Neighbourhood Watch supporting the Ukrainian people

At Neighbourhood Watch we are deeply saddened by the plight the Ukrainian people find themselves in by being invaded by Russia.

Since the escalation of fighting in Ukraine, Red Cross teams both inside Ukraine and in bordering countries have been supporting people wherever possible. To date, Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers have distributed 30,000 food and hygiene parcels and helping evacuate people with disabilities. Teams have also provided first aid training to 1,000 people in metro stations and bomb shelters, and are supporting fire fighters, medical and civil protection units. In just a few days, more than 500,000 people have left Ukraine due to the conflict, with even more currently displaced from their homes within the country.

Red Cross teams in bordering countries including Poland, Moldova, Slovakia, and Romania have been preparing to support people on arrival in each country. To help the Ukrainian people we encourage our supporters to raise funds amongst their communities and donate to Red Cross. As the security situation allows, the Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will continue to respond to existing and emerging humanitarian needs.

Your donation could help someone affected get:
• food
• water
• first aid
• medicines
• warm clothes
• shelter

Donations can be made here through their website: