The home site of the Round Hill Society, a community group of the residents of Round Hill in Brighton, England. The site contains information about the area, latest news and reflections on life in Round Hill.
Kate has found the link to the official Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network at https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/ which returns interesting local examples of Neighbourhood Watches when we enter Round Hill postcodes into the search box. Try it.
The results raise some questions:
Answers to A and B
We would need to liaise with unofficial groups to find out. However, the link Our watch is the public returns information from 2012 suggesting partnership with the police.
Page 9 of The Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Members Handbook 2014 - also well out of date, mentions:
"If you are not already a member of Neighbourhood Watch and want to join, find out if there is a scheme in your street or local area by entering your postcode on www.ourwatch.org.uk, or phone the police on 101.
If there is an existing scheme nearby then we can arrange for your PCSO or a local co-ordinator to contact you and provide further information. If there isn’t one, they can help you and your neighbours to set one up. Overall, very little work is involved. Free help and advice is always available.
Whoever volunteers to be the Scheme Co-ordinator (see the next page) will need to complete a couple of simple forms. The Scheme Co-ordinator can use the information provided by the PCSO to chat to other residents about joining the scheme. Later, the PCSO will help you to hold an informal residents meeting to explain how things work in more detail. This will include the option to arrange Neighbourhood Watch street signs."
What is the up-to-date Answer to C?
It now appears that neighbourhoods are having to make bids to The Police Commissioner's Community Safety Fund to get their Neighbourhood Watch signs.
Is police partnership still on offer?
From The Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Members Handbook 2014 page 10
Individual Neighbourhood Watch schemes are run by members through a volunteer local resident Scheme Co-ordinator, sometimes known as a deliverer because they circulate relevant messages and crime prevention advice to their neighbours. Schemes can vary in size from just a few homes to a whole village. Some areas and villages also have a volunteer Area Co-ordinator, who supports the Scheme Co-ordinators. Once the scheme is set up, the Scheme Co-ordinator will receive information from the police and Neighbourhood Watch, often by E-mail, for passing on as appropriate to members. Members who do not have access to E-mail can receive messages on paper. All residents are encouraged to quickly feed back to the police any information on criminal or suspicious activity, to look out for each other generally, and give a helping hand when this is appropriate.
Since 2014, there has been cuts in Police Community Support Officers numbers, we have lost "Bonnie". However, the The Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Members Handbook 2014 does mention a prrocedure on page 11, which a willing volunteer resident - perhaps someone also willing to join The Round Hill Society committee - could test:
Demanding more front-line police officers
In the news recently was a report that Sussex police officer numbers have fallen from 2959 to 2549 since Katy Bourne became Sussex Police Commissioner in 2012. There has been a drop of 800 front line staff since 2010. As many neighbourhoods are experiencing an increase in crime, it would seem a good time to campaign for the restoration of Police Community Support Officers.
The letter sent recently by The Round Hill Society to the police, our local councillor, our MP and Katy Bourne seems to have been successful in at least triggering a letter from the police warning residents about crime.
An earlier letter to the Sussex Police Commissioner's Office, sent by Sandy Thomas on behalf of The Round Hill Society, highlighted slow responses to dialling the non-emergency 101 number, and got a reply mentioning the Community Safety Fund.
How can we keep up this kind of pressure? Could The Round Hill Society and Pavilions together insist on a police representative attending liaison meetings, our AGM or two RHS committee meetings per year.
Thank you, Round Hill residents, for continuing to list concerns to include in a project / bid for funding to address community safety.
7. Link to the Projects Page on the Saltdean Rottingdean Ovingdean Neighbourhood Watch website.
Note that residents in the above neighbourhoods have joined together to form a Neighbourhood Watch and are making use of finance they have obtained from The Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner's Community Safety Fund. Their projects include
[i] erecting street signs to announce the NW's presence,
[ii] tackling the problem of speeding vehicles,
[iii] discouraging cold calling, and
[iv] holding meetings to raise awareness of crimes (e.g. scams which might deceive people who are not informed about them).
1. Request for feedback on top three community safety concerns
Although we live in a lovely, congenial area, a few current problems might benefit from attention. Recently, the Round Hill Society has been made aware of some concerns about:
These concerns are in the context of noticeable reductions in neighbourhood policing and some frustration associated with reporting crime via the 101 facility.
What can we do to improve matters?
Following initial discussion at Round Hill Society meetings, and some research into what has worked in other urban areas, we are proposing to look at the feasibility of introducing a rejuvenated and amplified Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, a 21st century version, possibly in conjunction with a bid for funding for Community Safety initiatives from the PCC. Through such an initiative we would aim to strengthen our relationship with local police officers and develop a mutually supportive relationship. In the end we want to support each other and make our community as safe as possible.
We would like to know:
Over to you!
2. Residents' feedback on top three concerns
3. Suggestions on how we use feedback
Our proposed rejuvenated and amplified Neighbourhood Watch Scheme currently consists of residents who are willing to define the issues and help to address them.
It would be really helpful if for each issue identified, residents either individually or together with friends & neighbours could undertake a little research to see how the concern is being addressed by existing Neighbourhood Watch groups. Here are links to (i) the knowledge base and (ii) some other resources offered by the UK Neighbourhood Watch network:
Another good knowledge base is what different Local Authorities (Councils) are doing to address residents concerns. Help in researching solutions which Council's have applied elsewhere or publicising solutions already offered by Brighton and Hove City Council, would make a very useful contribution to both The Round Hill Society's work and any proposed scheme to improve our community safety.
3a. Volunteers to research street lighting?
Brighton and Hove City Council has a web page on Street lighting with a link to Report a Faulty Street Light. Interestingly, during the next three years, our Council is involved in a major New Street Lighting project. They will attempt to replace more than 18,000 lighting points, providing new energy efficient LED lighting in several parts of the city.
See Brighton and Hove City Council's street light work schedule (XLS 31KB) for streets affected. The upgraded lights will be more efficient and low maintenance, reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions by up to 61%, and eventually saving the council around £200,000 a year.
No streets in Round Hill will get the new LED lights in the first phase of this project. The nearest streets to be included are Ditchling Rise, Upper Hollingdean Road and The Level. This will give us an opportunity to see what improvements the new LED lighting makes in these nearby places and to consider our own needs in Round Hill.
If we have sufficient residents who are interested, The Round Hill Society could request opportunities for neighbourhood consultation before a future phase of this project brings LED lights to Round Hill.
Some common concerns [e.g. removal of historic cast iron columns; lights shining into properties] are addessed in the FAQ section: scroll to bottom of The Council's Street lightening improvements page.
Note that Brighton and Hove City Council shows willingness to address concerns on an individual basis and provides the contact details [Tel: 01273292517 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ] of its street lighting department. Questions we might want to ask as a community:
3b. Extra measures to prevent dumping?
Our community could perhaps do more to keep tabs on who is doing the dumping and police follow-up. If we could increase local awareness and obtain better liaison with the police through Neighbourhood Watch, that might help.
It is also worth publicising existing channels for reporting:
If you witness flytipping, know who is doing it, or see items left abandoned in public space, reporting options are:
Reporting not only deters dumping, but as the report goes to Cityclean it usually ensures that the offending items are fairly quickly collected.
4. Should we become a neighbourhood watch?
A third link, which may be relevant to Round Hill is:
The advantage of the Neighbourhood Watch model is that many groups around the UK have applied themselves to finding solutions for several concerns which we share in Round Hill. Also, it offers a structure which the police is used to working with. The signage used by Neighbourhood Watch groups is recognisable - we might get help in financing it - and probably a bit of a deterrent to thieves. Belonging to the Neighbourhood Watch network entitles residents to discounts from certain home insurance companies (e.g. 10% at the Coop). Feedback would be welcome on whether residents would be happy to adopt the umbrella of Neighbourhood Watch. We would then need to structure ourselves according to the guidance in Setting up a neighbourhood watch scheme and find residents to fill the necessary positions.
Each scheme has a coordinator who acts as the key contact point for the scheme. They liaise with the police, scheme members and the general public – for instance, people who are interested in joining the scheme – as well as non-member residents when necessary. A scheme may have more than one coordinator as long as members and police know who the key contacts are. The coordinator ensures a smooth flow of information and communication between the police and scheme members.
If we are handling a budget, expenses and bidding for fund money, there ought to be a Treasurer involved as well. Shoud it be difficult to find volunteers to cover roles such as 'Treasurer', The Round Hill Society could probably double up on certain roles. We have a 'Treasurer' and already address community safety at our meetings, but getting further residents giving time to this topic would be our ideal.
5. Background to possible Round Hill bid
Help to construct a bid to improve community safety in Round Hill.
Please let us know your concerns & ideas and willingness to participate in something akin to a neighbourhood watch.
It may seem small mitigation for the loss of "Bonnie" (our dedicated Police Community Support Officer).
However, the office of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner's Community Safety Fund does invite bids for awards of up to £5,000 from local organisations and projects which serve the purposes of reducing crime &/or improving community safety.
The Round Hill Society would be pleased to hear from residents who may be interested in pursuing a project within our neighbourhood with the aim of reducing crime &/or improving community safety.
Awards of up to £5,000 are by Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner to local organisations and projects which serve the above purposes.
5. Kinds of projects which receive awards
Which kinds of projects have received the awards to date?
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH / OBSERVATION / REPORT IT
EDUCATION AND SUPPORT
OCCUPATION / LEARNING VIA RECREATION / REHABILITATION