Community urged to join Neighbourhood Watch groups to help fight against crime

A STALYBRIDGE Neighbourhood Watch group has already had success in the fight against crime.

Elizabeth Hesketh

And Elizabeth Hesketh, who formed the Stalyhill Neighbourhood Watch on Mottram Rise in December 2017, is urging residents of Stalybridge and Mossley to form groups in their neighbourhoods.

Elizabeth explained the benefits, saying: “We had a couple of burglaries and residents got together to pool CCTV footage and we managed to get an arrest.

“It has helped pull us together as a neighbourhood and we find it helps to get to know the neighbours well.

“I am surprised there are not more groups because they are a big help in the fight against crime.”

Elizabeth set up the group after noticing suspicious cars while there had also been a couple of burglaries.

“Residents had no way of communicating with one another so I made and posted leaflets,” she added. “I had a very good response and the group was formed.”

Elizabeth put out an appeal for funds to have 20 signs made, adding she received money pushed her door.

The Stalyhill group has a Facebook page to inform residents of news and updates. And they have an WhatsApp group for any more urgent updates.

Elizabeth was helping promote Neighbourhood Watch Week, which was between June 17-23.
Tony Moran, co-ordinator of Tameside’s groups, described the national initiative as aimed at raising awareness.

Stalybridge and Mossley, Tony pointed out, has only three Neighbourhood Watch groups and he said there is considerable scope for expansion in both towns.

Tony, who helped set up the Denton West Town Lane South scheme, is keen Neighbourhood Watch groups, rebranded from Home Watch last years, provide a cost effective way for police to get intelligence.

He also wants them to embrace modern technology, explaining: “We live in a fast-moving world with social meeting. I think the days of monthly meetings are outdated.

“We encourage the sharing of information on social media as the way to go forward, though we still use old fashioned methods including working closely with the PCSO.

“We also want it to be more than protecting property but looking after the vulnerable and elderly.”

Tameside PCSO Christine Hill concurred with Tony, explaining: “We cannot be everywhere 24 hours a day so we like curtain twitchers.”

One of the borough’s largest groups is Hartshead and Lily Lanes which was launched in 2012. It has 950 members from the 1,100 houses on the estate.

They are holding an open day at Ashton Rugby Club on Sunday, June 23 between noon and 4pm.

Civic Mayor Leigh Drennan and MP Angela Rayner will be attending the event which will include security, first aid and road safety.

Neighbourhood Watch, which covers about 3.5million homes nationally, is a valued voluntary grass root movement with its strength in building strong communities, preventing crime and working to support community resilience and community spirit.

Everyone in the community has the responsibility for preventing crime. Neighbourhood Watch aims to foster a strong and positive working relationship with the police locally, regionally and nationally.

Residents and the police support each other helping to create an environment where opportunities for crime are reduced.

Tony, who represents Tameside on the Greater Manchester Neighbourhood Watch Association (GMNWA), says it is the intention of each representative to feedback to local Neighbourhood Watch schemes in their borough to support both existing groups and engage with new start-ups.

He added he has also been working in partnership with Tameside Council’s community safety partnership manager Vanessa Rothwell and inspector Lee Broadoak Tameside Police.

Tony said the former Home Watch scheme had basically lost it aims as society has changed in respect of types of crime and the use of social media sharing intelligence with GMP.

Tameside Neighbourhood Watch has developed its own website ready for the launch of NWA week and each registered group will be signposted through a link to each borough ward giving contact details for a group in their area. It will also provide guidance for those wanting to start a new group.

A seminar has also been organised for Thursday, September 26 at Hyde Town Hall to encourage residents to set up new groups by liaising with existing ones.

Tameside has also produced a handbook for Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators and residents which is available at www.tmbcnwa.jhweb.uk

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