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Police encourage residents to sign up to OWL

17 Jun 2021
  • Almost 60 per cent of households in Broxbourne have signed up to OWL (Online Watch Link) to receive messages about crime in their local area.

  • The Force is encouraging residents in other areas including Stevenage, North Herts, Welwyn Hatfield, Dacorum and St Albans to join OWL (opens in a new window)

  • There are currently voluntary vacancies in Watford and Welwyn Hatfield for district NHW co-ordinators.

Broxbourne residents are kept most informed with police news through the Online Watch Link (OWL) than anywhere else in the county.

The Community Safety Partnership (CSP) now has an impressive 59 per cent of households signed up to the OWL scheme (opens in a new window), which is the modern arm of Neighbourhood Watch.

“This is especially impressive as eight years ago, in 2013, Broxbourne only had three per cent of households signed up,” explained Broxbourne Chief Inspector Frankie Westoby.

“This huge achievement is largely due to Stewart Skyes, the volunteer NHW district co-ordinator who set himself the goal of knocking on every door in the area, working closely with police Watch Liaison Officer Terry Morris. His determination, hard work, energy and enthusiasm has paid off and we are very grateful for all his incredible voluntary work.”

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Frost said: “This is great news for residents in Broxbourne who regularly receive police news and updates about local burglaries, scams and missing people with relevant crime prevention advice. I would encourage the rest of the county to sign-up to boast similar results as we know a ‘Prevention First’ approach helps keep our county safer. There’s never been a better time to be kept informed about what is happening locally and recipients simply need to read the messages and take on board any crime prevention measures. However, if residents would like to volunteer to help as a district co-ordinator or even the chair of Herts Watch, we would love to hear from you.”

He added: “We are especially keen to get more people signed up in Stevenage, North Herts, Welwyn Hatfield, Dacorum and St Albans (see OWL coverage by CSP on chart below).”

HertsWatch – the umbrella term for Neighbourhood Watch and OWL - currently has vacancies for a NHW district co-ordinator in Watford and Welwyn Hatfield.

The role of a district co-ordinator is to work with the police Watch Liaison officer to build up OWL sign ups, oversee ward and street co-ordinators, send out OWL messages and attend a few meetings a year. As a volunteer, you can put as much or as little time into the role and you will be given support from HertsWatch.

The role of chair of HertsWatch is also currently vacant – temporarily being filled by deputy chair Keith Batchelor. The voluntary role includes chairing four NHW meetings a year, meeting the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable, working closely with the police Community Reduction and Community Safety Unit and supporting the district co-ordinators when needed. Estimated hours are about 30 to 50 a month and basic expenses will be paid in all roles.

For further information, email Keith Batchelor.

May 2021

Neighbourhood Watch is a long-established concept of simply looking out for your neighbours and helping the police by being the ‘ears and eyes’ within your local area. It’s about prevention, reassurance and safety.

Hertfordshire has over 160,000 members signed up to our Online Watch Link (OWL) (opens in a new window), which is over a third of all households in the county, making it one of the best in the country.

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