Essex: Volunteers build on our neighbourly connections
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Around 1,800 people volunteer their valuable spare time to help us protect our communities.
Among them are volunteer groups who are independent of Essex Police but who work with us to help us to make our county a safer place to live, work and visit.
To celebrate National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) and Neighbourhood Watch Week (5-11 June), today we are highlighting the wonderful work carried out by the volunteers in the many Neighbourhood Watch groups across the county.
And who better to tell us about it than Clive Stewart, chairman of Essex Neighbourhood Watch Association, who has been volunteering for 27 years.
He first became a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator when a Belchamp St Paul parish councillor in 1994 and the council was asked by Essex Police if it could find someone to do the job.
Ten years later, he joined us as a Watch administrator and, in three years, almost doubled the Braintree district’s Neighbourhood Watch membership from 13,500 to 25,000 members.
Within a year of retiring in 2009, Clive was invited to be secretary of Essex County Neighbourhood Watch Association (ECNWA) and chairman of Braintree District Neighbourhood Watch Steering Group. In 2013, he also became chairman of ECNWA.
So, as you can tell, Clive loves being involved in Neighbourhood Watch! He says: “I enjoy making people aware about how to protect their own property more effectively and helping others who may feel vulnerable to do the same.
“This is made possible by Essex Police, who send me regular crime reports and up-to-date crime prevention advice to distribute.
“I start at 8.30am six days a week and hope that I can finish my responsibilities by midday but, sometimes, I’m still answering texts and emails until 9pm any day, even Sundays!”
Clive has a fund of stories, which, he says, would take up ‘quite a few pages’ but he is particularly proud of the fact that the information distributed by Neighbourhood Watch in Essex has helped the force to resolve crimes and has also ‘assisted’ in arrests.
To anyone thinking of joining the band of Neighbourhood Watch volunteers in Essex, Clive says the role will stretch to fit the time they have available.
“It is worthwhile even if you just distribute emails containing information from Essex Police to a small Neighbourhood Watch group each week, although you could create a local Neighbourhood Watch Facebook group too.
And Clive adds: “I believe that crime reduces in a community which cares. It’s a great way of being of service to the community, especially knowing that Essex Police supports you day in and day out, 24 hours a day seven days a week.”
If you see anything suspicious, want to report a crime or have information about criminality, report it online at www.essex.police.uk, using our digital reporting forms or Live Chat service, ring us on 101 or, if it's an emergency, ring 999. Find out more at www.essex.police.uk/digital101
Find out more about Neighbourhood Watch, as well as all the Watch schemes we operate, from Dog Watch to Marine Watch.