It's a shame to lose Neighbourhood Watch

8:02am Thursday 17th April 2014

NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch stickers were once a proud yellow badge displayed in the windows of homes across the Vale warning law breakers they were up against a network of neighbours ready to fight back against crime.

But it seems neighbours are no longer there for one another as the Neighbourhood Watch scheme in Evesham and Pershore is set to cease.

The announcement was made following the local annual general meeting on Tuesday, April 1.

In an email distributed by the police Sharon Summers, the territorial policing volunteer based at Evesham Police Station said: "Following the appalling attendance at the AGM on April 1 it has been decided that the Association will now cease.

"There is obviously no interest in Neighbourhood Watch and with the resignation of the chairperson and the secretary/treasurer, there were no volunteers to take over these roles."

Traditionally Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators have worked with the police to convey information both to them about local goings on and report back to their neighbours if they needed to be aware.

Members would have also kept an eye out for vulnerable residents.

One Evesham co-ordinator, Anne Jordan, of Merrybrook, Evesham, said she had started to struggle with the role when it became computerised but when she asked someone else to take it on, no one stepped up.

"I am not surprised it's closing down," said the 75-year-old. "I don't hear much about it. I get emails from the police but I have already read it in the paper."

Despite this Mrs Jordan said she doesn't think the end of the watch is down to a loss in community spirit.

"They are a very friendly crowd in our road but most people have burglar alarms and know about Smart Water so I think people feel they are well protected.

"It's just such a shame."

The closure of the service is something happening across the country.

Roy Ridham, chairman of the UK Neighbourhood Watch Trust, said: "It's something over the years that is constantly happening for a number of years. It's not just Neighbourhood Watch.

"I don't think it's a loss of community. The functions have almost been superseded by the Police Community Support Officer and the community volunteers."

Sergeant Phil Stayte, from Evesham Rural North policing, said: "Obviously Neighbourhood Watch is an organisation that assists the police in many ways. It would be a shame if it goes. Of course they are the eyes and the ears."

Pershore police officer John Hunter added he had his own contacts for the town which he was sure would continue to assist him.

People can still get involved in the Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the Evesham and Pershore areas and work required can be as much or as little as you wish. Anyone interested should contact Sharon Summers on 0300 333 3000 ext 3419 or email sharon.summers@westmercia.pnn.police.uk.

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