Neighbourhood Watch in
Hertfordshire reaches 100,000 homes milestone
Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) in Hertfordshire reached a massive
milestone recently when its membership reached 100,000 households
across the county.
Neighbourhood Watch is based on the simple idea that by being a
good neighbour, you can help make your community more secure by
looking out for your neighbours; keeping an eye on their homes
while they are away; and receiving and sharing crime prevention
advice to help keep yourselves safe and your homes and property
In Hertfordshire the scheme is underpinned by the award-winning
OWL (Online Watch Link) internet-based facility. Through the
system, Neighbourhood Watch members receive regular updates and
alerts from their local policing team via email, or by telephone if
preferred. Neighbourhood Watch coordinators use the database
facility to manage and develop their Watches.
With 100,000 members, more than 1 in 5 (22 per cent) of homes in
the county are now signed up to the scheme.
Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators, the Chair of Herts Watch,
Hertfordshire Constabulary Community Safety Staff and the Inventor
of OWL all joined together at Police Headquarters on Friday,
February 4 to mark the occasion.
Chair of Herts Watch, Hertfordshire’s Neighbourhood
Watch Committee, Sue Thompson said: “This is an incredible
achievement and could not have happened without the partnership
working of volunteer coordinators and the police Safer
Neighbourhood Teams across the county. Thanks must also be
paid to the police Watch Liaison Team.
“At the heart of the success also lies the Online Watch Link
(OWL) database and messaging system, which was developed by Gary
Fenton almost ten years ago. The messages sent out not only
ensure residents are kept informed and aware of crime trends in
their areas and provide appropriate security and safety advice, but
they also encourage residents to report suspicious incidents
through 101 or 999.
“We are so lucky to live in a county where the residents value
and promote NHW and hope the schemes continue to grow steadily
across the county in the future.”
Gary Fenton, the inventor of OWL from Hatfield based
Direct Path Solutions, said: “When OWL went online in
Hertfordshire ten years ago, NHW was this niche group scattered
thinly across the county with barely a thousand accountable
members. Now we have one in five homes fully signed across
the county, covering over 10,000 streets.
“Hertfordshire has massively grown their watches and membership
to an incredible level where 100,000 homes are directly contactable
by the police at the press of a button where an alert or appeal is
far more likely to be seen and read than using social media alone
and over 1,000 extra homes in the county are signing up every
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David
Lloyd said: “It’s great to see such a strong Neighbourhood
Watch in Hertfordshire. 100,000 member households is an achievement
to be commended. The scheme creates areas where people look out for
each other, engenders community spirit and ultimately makes the
“Neighbourhood Watch is a great scheme for people to get
involved in. Volunteering, as a watch member or in another similar
way, can make a huge difference to the security of others and to
the overall safety of an area and I’d encourage more people to
You can sign up to Neighbourhood Watch by visiting www.owl.co.uk or alternatively, contact
the Watch Liaison Team firstname.lastname@example.org.