Communication is crucial to Neighbourhood Watch at every level. For communication within Neighbourhood Watch to be effective, it must be:
- Conveyed at appropriate time
- Conveyed via the right method
- Passed to the right person
Above all - Keep your communication simple!
An effective partnership between NW and the other agencies is important. Although it is unlikely that your local community police officer or someone from the council will be able to attend all your meetings, it is important to explore other ways of maintaining contact. It helps if there is an established point of contact within various agencies in your area who can provide support, advice or updates in a way that works for all parties.
When you are communicating, think about what is convenient for people. There are lots of different ways to communicate, and some will be of more benefit to your scheme than others. When you are choosing a method of communication, think about the time, effort and cost involved in the different types:
- Telephone call
- Text message
- Facebook page
- Twitter account
- Local community webpage (e.g. http://www.s1community.com/)
The internet has opened up a world of possibility in terms of communicating. It's easier than ever to set up a webpage, a blog or a social networking profile for your local group. Talk to your neighbours to see if any of them have the skills to do so, or if they're willing to learn.
One of the easiest ways for watch members to stay in touch is by signing up for our Neighbourhood Alert service. Encouraging your watch members to register their details will mean your watch is easier to manage. Just click Join above.
Although any emergency call should use the 999 system, consider how relevant your call is before you contact the police. For minor, non-urgent issues it may be better to maintain an incident log that can be discussed at a future meeting or with your local community officer. Incident logs are particularly valuable when dealing with anti-social issues.
Circulating information around the scheme may also be urgent or non-urgent. Very urgent information may have to be passed by word of mouth or by text message. Matters of less urgency may be dealt with by e-mail or ring round systems. Non urgent matters can be dealt with through newsletters or at meetings
To maintain communication and to benefit from community intelligence it is vital that people know what happened to information they passed on, otherwise they think it was ignored or of no importance. Feedback encourages people to report things again rather than thinking that nothing will be done as a result of their information.