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The Role of the Coordinator

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 17 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Community Neighbourhood Watch

The ongoing success or failure of a Neighbourhood Watch depends on the volunteers of course, but chief among those is the co-ordinator. He, or she, is the person who makes everything happen, and is usually the person who started the Watch in the first place.It’s not an easy job, and can be quite time consuming.

The Duties Of The Co-ordinator

The Co-ordinator is the person who will first contact the police about starting a Neighbourhood Watch. The crime prevention officer at the local station will be able to lay out what’s needed and the necessary steps to take.

Of course, the biggest challenge for the Co-ordinator is finding volunteers to become members of the Watch, and will likely take the most time. You need people who are reliable, know the area, are concerned about crime, and have suspicious natures, but don’t panic completely at the sight of a stranger.

The Co-ordinator has to vet volunteers and train them – although he might not know a lot more himself! In many ways it’s really about teaching people what to look for, more than anything else – how to identify what’s suspicious activity, and how to report it to the police properly.

If that were the extent of it, being the Co-ordinator would be a fairly easy job. But the Co-ordinator also has to work with the police and the Neighbourhood Watch Ringmaster system to get messages – which can involve anything from nuts and bolts work to information about criminal activity in the greater area – and pass that on to members.

The Co-ordinator is also responsible for Watch members making sure people in the area are informed about crime prevention techniques. These can be security devices, such as window locks, or using marking kits to identify personal property (so it can be returned if stolen). That can mean setting up visits to residents for Watch members, or arranging a meeting when everything can be explained, and informing people of it.

Keep watch over the vulnerable, such as the elderly, is an important part of the Watch’s remit. The Co-ordinator should identify who those people are in the neighbourhood, and arrange not only for volunteers to keep a closer eye on them, but also work with them to warn of the dangers of people trying to sell door-to-door.

Neighbourhoods change. Families move in and out, houses sell or are rented. When new families move in, one of the things the Co-ordinator should do is go over and welcome them to the neighbourhood, explain what the Watch does, how it helps keep the area safer – and ask if they want to join, of course.

Many Watches put out newsletters to the houses they cover, with news about the area, any successes the Watch has had, and plans for the future. The Co-ordinator, who knows all that’s happened, would be the person to write it and arrange for publishing and distribution.Finally, the Co-ordinator would work with the police and people from other Watches and elsewhere to come up with ideas to improve the Watch, and make it more efficient.

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