Tag: 2022

ASB Awareness week 2022

We participated in many of the events, including:

  • Community engagement
  • weapon sweeps
  • safety patrols
  • leaflets
  • stalls

Tower Hamlets Council kindly agreed to pay for Neighbourhood Watch signs in the borough. Signs will be given to existing Neighbourhood Watch schemes, where there is a verified co-ordinator. Please see the slides from the events.

Public engagement

is very important. We have given the Community Bus new watch stickers and leaflets to distribute.

Get involved.

AGM 2022

AGM 2022

Our first Annual General Meeting as registered Charity was successfully held at a Community Centre.

The opening speech by Deputy Mayor Maium Talukdar praised Neighbourhood Watch as an important and useful community initiative coupled with a promise that the current administration will bring back the ‘A dealer a day’ countering drug dealing strategy in the borough.

Thankfully partners from the Tower Hamlets Community Safety Partnership, which includes Met Police and the Tower Hamlets ASB Team were represented by

The yearly report was presented by the chair, please read the full version on the Charity Commission website here.

It is within the rules of the CIO Constitution, that all Trustees and officers resign at the AGM and then re-affirm their commitments and/or stand for officers positions.

We established a new panel of officers with a new chair, details on the Ourwatch website.

Thankfully those attending showed significant interest in bringing our charity forward and we received no less than four new Trustee applications, three of which have been added to our profile.

As this meeting coincided with the 40th birthday celebrations from the National Neighbourhood Watch Network, who distributed certificates for voluntary services over 5, 10, 25, 40 years, we were able to present awards to people who spent a lot of their free time helping their community in various ways and especially related to community safety.

We are happy to continue the good work by holding regular quarterly trustee meetings and by improving the service to Neighbourhood Watch groups in the borough.

Join us by

  1. Registering
  2. creating / joining a watch group
    1. groups are created by using a mapping tool to draw around your chosen area
    2. groups are joined by selecting from a menu of available groups on the Ourwatch site.
    3. watches are then published on the Ourwatch website (sample) search here
  3. Verifying
  4. join meetings

As the borough Association, we administer all membership generated via the Ourwatch website or people who contact us directly.

The local dynamic

Keeping the momentum of the Platinum Jubilee 2022 going is on everybody’s mind who managed to improve relationships with neighbours during Neighbourhood Watch Week 2022, which celebrated 40 years of Neighbourhood Watch. The Eden Project Communities have created wonderful memories on various platforms, when they actually sent people to record the Platinum celebrations in various localities.

We had the benefit of TV appearances of both our CEO John Hayward-Cripps and Head of Membership Cheryl Spruce with founding member Colleen Atkins. Also the day-time favourite series doctors saw the local police officer recommending joining a Neighbourhood Watch group. Cheryl will also speak at our AGM.

Isn’t it commendable that Colleen met with her neighbours over a period of 40 years?

Creating that sense of community is very important to us but Covid put a spanner in our works and we resolved this with electronic communications methods. Whilst many worked from home, the use of Teams and Zoom increased dramatically and social media, as well as WhatsApp drew in many members.

Our WhatsApp group became very popular and grew tremendously. Yet, now we can walk and talk with our neighbours in person again. Reaching out to neighbours is often easier in person. Whilst it is of course a must to register with Ourwatch for formal membership and creating a lasting record of members with the ability to store safely group documents and communications, we mustn’t forget how important it is to actually meet with the people who register online.

We now have a weekly coffee morning for all who wish to speak about their local issues, see event calendar. Booking appointments is also still possible for those who happen to work on Thursday mornings.

We want our local groups to be as independent as possible but also stay informed. We have now created a new WhatsApp group, which informs only and gives our co-ordinators and members the ability to get the Borough Command Unit Partnership messages without fuss via our WhatsApp channel, which is exclusively used for Ourwatch members. Please join Ourwatch and confirm that you wish to be added.

Join our Trustee Board

Our Organisation

The Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association (THNWA) is part of the largest grass-roots movement in England and Wales, working to prevent crime and reduce the fear of crime, and support local initiatives to build stronger and better-connected communities.

We are the Borough Association for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. We are closely connected to the National Neighbourhood Watch Network, better known as Ourwatch with a Memorandum of Understanding.

Our organisation comprises of individuals who are either registered on Ourwatch and/or members of active Neighbourhood Watch groups, also registered on the Ourwatch website.

We represent all those who are known to us and want to be connected with Neighbourhood Watch.

Our Board

Our voluntary trustee board is responsible for ensuring the charity is well run and is held accountable for:

  • Pursuing its charitable objectives and complying with its Constitution, charity law, and any other relevant legislation or regulations
  • Applying its resources wisely to achieve impact and value-for-money
  • Demonstrating its values and maintaining public confidence in its reputation
  • Working strategically by setting policy and defining goals and targets and measuring its impact.

The board monitors the work of the CEO (yet to be appointed) and acts as a “critical friend” through support and constructive challenge. The Board aims to hold 4 routine meetings each year, usually via video conference. We also aim to develop a regular meeting routine in person to discuss developing strategy and report to members. There are also board committees for more detailed work on finance and resources and on working with the local community and service provision.

We are now looking to recruit new trustees to our board and we recognise that increasing the diversity of our board so that it better reflects the communities we serve will help us do a better job as a charity. We are therefore very keen to involve young people, people from the LGBTQ+ community, those with lived experience of disability or who have been victims of crime, as well as people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. We will support people for whom this would be their first trustee role to learn about the responsibilities of trusteeship. We are also aiming to strengthen our board in a number of functional areas (see knowledge and Experience section below).

Personal Characteristics

To become a trustee of the THNWA you need to be able to demonstrate that you

  • Support the values and ethics of the Neighbourhood Watch movement and act with integrity, including handling sensitive and confidential information
  • Are willing to learn about the work of the charity and the role of a trustee, and to commit the time needed for the role (on average about 8 hours per month)
  • Are able to read reports, analyse information and exercise good judgement and use of evidence in making decisions
  • Have good knowledge of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • Will contribute to the board and committees by reading reports, attending regularly and participating in discussions by active listening and challenging constructively where necessary.

Knowledge and experience

You don’t need to have specialist knowledge or experience to apply, but we are also keen to hear from people who can help us with fundraising and income generation, or who have experience of marketing and communications and can advise us on engaging with broader and more diverse audiences, including better use of social media. We are also seeking someone with knowledge of charity finance (or with general accounting knowledge who would be willing to learn about the charitable context). We would also like to have one trustee on our board with knowledge of policing and public safety in England and Wales and trends in policy development, especially in Greater London and Tower Hamlets in particular.

How to apply

To apply, please submit a short letter (up to two sides of A4) explaining your interest in becoming a trustee and what you could contribute to the THNWA, accompanied by your CV. These should be emailed to admin@thnwa.london by Sunday 5. June 2022. If you would like to have an informal discussion before applying please email Johanna.kaschke@thnwa.london who will arrange a call with our chair.

If your application is successful, we will need to check that you are eligible to be a trustee but provided you are over 16 years of age and have not been disqualified from acting as a company director or convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or deception, you will probably qualify.

We look forward to hearing from you.  Martin Shortis (Chair of the Board)


Trustee Role Description

  1. Introduction
  2. Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association (THNWA) is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (#1194477) that acts as the umbrella organisation for the voluntary crime prevention movement in Tower Hamlets.
  3. THNWA is governed by a board of between 3 and 12 trustees who are initially co-opted by the board, through open recruitment and interview to asses their fit with the person specification (section 4). They then stand for election by the Charity’s members at the next Annual General Meeting. The THNWA Constitution requires one-third of the board to retire at each subsequent AGM but retiring trustees may stand for re-election up to a maximum limit of three consecutive terms.
  4. THNWA’s work is delivered by the elected officers of the committee comprising of Chair, vice-chair, Secretary, treasurer. We have yet to appoint a CEO. The functions of the team are to: support the organisation, volunteers and Watch groups; develop and share good practise; fundraise for THNWA and the organisation; develop training and support for volunteers; develop and deliver strategic aims of the borough movement; develop policies and guidance tailored to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. This is all done in liaison with the members of the Association.
  5. Charitable Purpose
    1. THNWA aims to reduce crime and the fear of crime by supporting grass-roots community initiatives that partner with the police, other public services and the voluntary sector. By promoting good citizenship and encouraging public participation, this work helps people be safer and contributes to greater community cohesion and resilience.
  6. Duties of Trustees
    • Ensure that THNWA complies with its Constitution, charity law and any other relevant legislation or regulations
    • Ensure that THNWA pursues its objects as defined by its Constitution
    • Ensure THNWA’s financial stability
    • Ensure THNWA applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects
    • Safeguarding THNWA’s good name and  values
    • Providing strategic direction to management by setting overall policy and defining goals and targets, and exercising oversight and scrutiny in evaluating delivery of he strategy.
    • Oversee the work of the CEO, setting their remuneration and personal objectives and evaluating their performance, and acting as a ‘critical friend’ to the CEO through support and constructive challenge
    • Ensure that the board operates in the interests of the Neighbourhood Watch Network itself and of any of its members in particular the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association, or other groups, or of external bodies

In addition to the above statutory duties, each trustee should use any specific skills, knowledge or experience they have to help the board of trustees reach sound decisions. This may involve leading discussions, identifying key issues, providing advice and guidance on new initiatives, and evaluating or offering advice on other areas in which the trustee has particular expertise.

The Charity Commission publishes a guide to The Essential Trustee, which provides more detailed information

  • Person specification
    We recognise that increasing the diversity of our board, so that it better reflects the communities we serve will help us do a better job as a charity. We are therefore very keen to involve young people, people from the LGTBQ+ community, those with lived experience of disability or who have been victims of crime, as well as people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. We will support people for whom this would be their first trustee role to learn about the responsibilities of trusteeship.

To become a trustee of THNWA you need to be able to demonstrate that you

  • Support the values and ethics of the Neighbourhood Watch movement and in particular the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association (THNWA) and act with integrity, including handling sensitive and confidential information. You should also demonstrate a commitment to equality and diversity and an understanding of the factors that can limit inclusion
    • Are willing to learn about the work of the charity and the role of a trustee, to commit the time needed for the role (on average about 8 hours a month) and to abide by the charity’s policies and including confidentiality, data protection and safeguarding
    • Are able to read reports, analyse information and exercise good judgement and use of evidence in making decisions
    • Will contribute to the board and committees by reading reports, attending regularly and participating in discussions by active listening and challenging constructively where necessary
    • Can identify and understand where conflicts of interests may arise and ensure they are reported and managed
      While you don’t need specialist knowledge to apply, in this round of recruitment we are also keen to hear from people who can provide leadership to the board in the following areas:
    • Fundraising and income generation, particularly from grant making bodies in the public sector and from charitable trusts and foundations
    • Marketing and communications, especially in how we can engage with a broader and more diverse audience, including better use of social media
    • Knowledge of charity finance, or with general accounting knowledge who would be willing to learn about the charitable context.
    • knowledge of policing and public safety in England and Wales and trends in policy development, especially in Greater London and Tower Hamlets in particular.
  • Eligibility
    As a Charitable Incorporated Organisation we can accept people as trustees who are aged 16 or over. You must not have been disqualified as a company director removed from a position as a charity trustee, have an unspent conviction for an offence involving dishonesty or deception (such as fraud) or be an undischarged bankrupt
  • Time Commitment
    • The board normally meets quarterly with an additional AGM and another strategic meeting(s). Meetings are scheduled on weekdays afternoons or evenings and are a mix of online and in person meetings in Tower Hamlets.
    • New trustees are expected to participate in an induction program and to undertake training in any areas in which they require development.
    • Trustees are also expected to be available for discussions between board meetings via email or telephone and to participate where possible in working groups and committees where their expertise is relevant
    • Trustees may also occasionally be asked to represent the board at public events, meetings of local groups or with the charity’s partners
    • Overall the minimum time commitment of trustees would equate to around 10-12 hours per month (with additional time required of officers such as the Chair, vice-chair, treasurer and secretary, MSA)
Gun surrender project

Gun surrender project

As part of the general violence reduction strategy, which saw knife bins installed in Tower Hamlets, we can now look forward to the ‘Firearms surrender’ project.

There are however no bins, to drop guns into. Weapons should be handed to front counter staff at identified police stations.

The main locations are:
SOUTH WESTTwickenham Police Station, 41 London Road, Twickenham, TW1 3SY.
SOUTH EASTLewisham Police Station, 43 Lewisham High St, Lewisham, SE13 5JZ.
SOUTH AREACroydon Police Station, 71 Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 1BP.
CENTRAL SOUTH Brixton Police Station, 367 Brixton Road, Brixton, SW9 7DD.
CENTRAL WESTHammersmith Police Station, 226 Shepherds Bush Road, Hammersmith, W6 7NX.
CENTRAL NORTHIslington Police Station, 2 Tolpuddle Street, The Angel, Islington, N1 0YY.
CENTRAL EASTStoke Newington Police Station, 33 Stoke Newington High St, London, N16 8DS.
NORTH EASTForest Gate Police Station, 350-360 Romford Rd, London, E7 8BS.
NORTH WESTWembley Police Station, 603 Harrow Rd, Wembley, HA0 2HH.
NORTH AREATottenham Police Station, 398 High Rd, Tottenham, N17 9JA
WEST AREAActon Police Station, 250 High St, Acton, W3 9BH.
EAST AREARomford Police Station, 19 Main Road, Romford, RM1 3BJ.
CITY of LONDONBishopsgate Police Station, 182 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NP.

  • Information on how to report a suspected firearms discharge, or to provide information to the police on where firearms are being stored or who is in possession of a firearm can be made via 999, by tweeting @MetCC or via our website.
  • Alternatively, Police encourage anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers. They never ask your name and they cannot trace your call, your IP address or the device you use. Fill in their quick online form or call 0800 555 111.
  • The Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association anonymous reporting, facilitates you to submit your information online locally.
  • It could save a life.

Detective Chief Superintendent Nick Blackburn concluded: “We need your help to remove weapons from our streets. Too often we come across family members or friends of criminals being asked to hide firearms. They often believe they won’t be arrested or prosecuted – they will. “If someone asks you to conceal a weapon, they are putting the risk on you. If you are caught in possession of a firearm, the likelihood is you will be jailed for a minimum of five years.”
“Often the firearms we seize are converted and formally legally-owned. They are then acquired by criminals and distributed for illegal use.
“Help us to reduce the threat of gun crime in London. I would urge anyone to seize this opportunity if it applies to you. If you have any information regarding gun crime, please speak to police or in confidence through the independent charity 100% anonymously.”

  • So far this year, lethal barrel discharges have reduced by 37 per cent (Jan-April 22) compared to the same period in 2021.
  • Officers have seized 524 lethal firearms from the streets (financial year 2021/22) compared with 480 in the same period for 2020/21 and 408 in 2019/20;
  • The number of shootings has also gone down from 283 in the financial year 2019/20 to 196 in 2021/22.
  • The results are thanks to dedicated proactive units carrying out long term, intelligence-led operations in areas of heightened gang criminality, spearheaded by our Specialist Crime Command. It means London is now a hostile place for criminals transporting firearms.  
  • Investigations into shootings are becoming stronger, with an increase in the number of charges brought for investigations into shootings rising from 20 per cent in 2019/20 to 38 per cent in 2021/22.
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

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 https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m00164xh/scam-interceptors-series-1-episode-2

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.