We are very pleased and excited to inform you about an important change in our service provision.
The Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association (THNWA) will be servicing both Ourwatch and OWL registered users for Neighbourhood Watch.
We are all Neighbours.
Wherever you are registered on either service or both, you are able to join the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association as member with full voting rights by completing this form.
There are differences in both Neighbourhood Watch systems, but it is entirely your choice, which one you use and feel comfortable with. A lot of people use both.
Neighbourhood Watch Network, serviced by Neighbourhood Alert, VISAV
Met Police, serviced by Direct Path
In Tower Hamlets Police do not use the system
In Tower Hamlets Police use the system
Service users nationwide 3 1/2 Million
used by ca 12 local councils with probably 100.000 users
Create Neighbourhood Watch schemes by creating a map of the area of your choice, this can be several blocks, a street or one tower block for example
You must join the Watch scheme available within your post code if there is one
your mapped scheme can be found and joined by locals online
there is no mapped scheme to view online, your registration allocates you to a local post code restricted scheme
unlimited cloud storage and ability to send and receive emails to/from members who can join even from a wider area
restricted communications ability to within local area only
National crime prevention alerts sent by users like Action Fraud, Get Safe Online, Ourwatch,
Police crime alerts often within the local SNT Ward newsletter
Volunteer run system monitored by the National Neighbourhood Watch Network
Police run system monitored by Tower Hamlets Police
users can join our BCU Police messages WhatsApp Group
Users can join our BCU Police message WhatsApp group
Whichever system you choose for running your local Neighbourhood Watch, you will be entitled to use our Street watch signs, to be attached to lamp posts. To be accepted as watch coordinator follow the steps as described here.
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.
My enquiry to the Home Office about the Neighbourhood Watch efficiently working with all crime reduction partners in Tower Hamlets has now been answered.
We have been given the heads up, the matter was referred to the Crime Strategy and Performance Unit. Whilst we heard at the same date that major drug busts in Britain led to the seizure of over 220.000 units of illegal drugs, we need to concentrate on our efforts of keeping crime down and working to the best of our ability to keep our communities safe.
Drugs present one of the biggest dangers to the integrity of our nation, our families and our future, of course terrorism is an equally blatant danger.
So regardless how many spanners are thrown in the works of resolving crime, we still need to push forward helping to reduce it. We must have a Zero Tolerance policy on drug dealing and consumption and on Terrorism amongst ourselves. Our watch groups are strictly prohibited from working with unsavoury organisations.
If you have information about drugs, report it immediately.
We provide you with tools to handle both problems efficiently.
For constant updates on Terrorism we provide the ACT App to our members, giving us
regular up-dates from the policy makers, advice on how to handle dangerous situations to do with terrorist attacks and prevention and courses.
If you have any information about drugs, you may report this via our own anonymous reporting tool, which does not require you to give any information about yourself, nor do you need to talk to anyone to report.
Why it is that UK Police of all organisations is trying to break up National Unity is beyond my understanding. We usually hear about Scottish and Irish and perhaps sometimes Welsh nationalists trying to break away but they never mention the Police Force.
That is a very important in respect of Neighbourhood Watch and keeping records of Neighbourhood Watch members and the mailing lists of such people.
People are told that OWL is now the new Neighbourhood Watch system. Yet, there are no watch coordinators visible on OWL as Ourwatch schemes do not get transferred. Continue to register with Ourwatch for schemes.
Whilst the National Neighbourhood Watch Network has an excellent system of volunteer care and training, OWL does not. We have not been provided with any information about that from OWL.
It would be perfectly easy and feasible for all police forces to simply subscribe to Neighbourhood Alert and run all their Neighbourhood Watch related mailing lists via that extremely secure system, but no, UK Police has split up the national Neighbourhood Watch system into chunks of areas, where they introduced OWL.
Whilst OWL does not receive those very same messages at the same very fast pace.
I think enough is enough, UK Police has to stop splitting up Neighbourhood Watch and try to create an off-shoot of Neighbourhood Watch with OWL.
Not even the new OWL App has any new developments in respect of crime reporting, they simply re-direct people to the Met Police website. We do not need an App for that, we can do that ourselves.
I have asked OWL to provide us with their policy on volunteer training and their volunteer care policy but nothing has been provided.
Ii think that OWL is one way that parts of UK Police try to break up national unity. There are only 9 London boroughs and Hertfordshire fully working on OWL, the rest of the Country is not.
Whilst Tower Hamlets Council has changed the following area names
former St. Peters
former Bethnal Green
now Bethnal Green West
now Bethnal Green East
Metropolitan Police Services, including OWL do not yet reflect that change. Area information on OWL is unable to load because Council has already changed their services to the new names, whilst Met Police has not.
Continue to contact Met Police using the old SNT Ward email addresses as seen above.
We have changed the area names on Ourwatch, so members can see their ward names as they are now when using the Ourwatch system.
We have written to Tower Hamlets Police about the issue and also contacted Ourwatch members to make them aware that their Police SNT area is still under the old name rather than the new one, which is now also used for Councillor information on the Tower Hamlets website.
Since our Charity registration was completed with the Charity Commission, we held our first public meeting with surprising results.
It was refreshing to hear how openly, those attending, discussed their personal, professional and public issues to do with personal and community safety.
Tower Hamlets Community Safety Officer John Fortune and 3 Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhoods Officers and Anne Ambrose, who sits on the Safer Neighbourhood Board, discuss Community Safety at our meeting. As well as No Place for Hate representative Benedicta Dikeocha and Junior Lawyer President Avion Headley all spoke on the issue of Race Hate and equality.
Pictures do not show all those attending. Minutes of the meeting are published here.
We thank all those attending meetings and seeing us at other public events, those who ask questions and want to know more about Neighbourhood Watch.
Then those who come to see us from other areas of London are always very pleased to hear that they can register with any address in Great Britain on the same website Ourwatch and get automatically allocated to their local scheme, area representative and connect to their local borough or force association.
That became especially clear at the recent HARCA event on Teviot estate.
It became clear that publications, which describe OWL as advanced solution for police & communities, are in fact not correct as OWL is not as advanced as it is described on this Council website.
The most important issue is that the vast majority of crime prevention alerts are sent out via Ourwatch or Neighbourhood Alert to all those registered with those services. I know that from personal experience as I am both registered with OWL and Ourwatch. Those messages sent through Ourwatch reach over 1/4 of the UK population, whilst OWL hardly ever sends out crime alerts and OWL messages reach only a very limited number of recipients. In fact we get more messages on open platform Twitter than from OWL.
Watch registration is more advanced on Ourwatch as you actually have a choice to map your watch area to an area of your choice – if available – and you are not forced to accept a whole post code for your watch area but you also have a choice to have several post codes as your watch area and can run more than one watch scheme both on the streets and online. You can register a watch encompassing a street, an estate or only one building.
On our version of OWL, there are no co-ordinators listed, whilst on Ourwatch you can create, maintain and develop your own scheme. OWL is available only in a very small area of Britain (a few London boroughs) and doesn’t interconnect with the rest of the national system.