Tag: Ourwatch

Register for fast alerts

National Alert is the default national system that is used by most police forces throughout Britain. All police forces used Neighbourhood Alert and the side-kick Ourwatch, to organise messaging and Neighbourhood Watch groups.

That is until somebody came up with the idea to create OWL.

I feel incredibly privileged to be the Membership Administrator for Ourwatch in Tower Hamlets and as such have first-hand information to what is actually happening.

I can see that last week alone, almost 3,500 people in England and Wales signed up for Neighbourhood Alerts and none of those were in inner London. There are more than 900.000 registered members.

I am asking myself, why do some Londoners want to be behind the rest of the country?

It takes one national administration to sent out an alert message to reach every person in the country. But all those who are only registered on OWL won’t get that message until each local OWL admin has copied and pasted that message into OWL. All important messages I received from OWL, came through National Alert or Ourwatch first.

I really do not understand what came over those break-away boroughs who decided on OWL.

I am registered on both systems and as user, I get the fastest, most relevant messages through Neighbourhood Alert long before I get anything relevant from the OWL system.

There are currently only 12 boroughs who use OWL, why?

I see OWL merely as a mailing list used by the Met Police in Tower Hamlets. As such all our coordinators must be registered with OWL. But of course through OWL, coordinators cannot communicate with their watch members, they need to set up a system on Ourwatch to do so.

I can understand that people complain about getting duplicate messages but remember, you get them from National Alert Ourwatch first.

I have written to Met Police Central Command about the issue. Why won’t the Met Police forces, who pay for OWL not pay for having first-rate access to the National Alert system? Why won’t they share data?

From a point of national security, National Alert does the job much better for getting through to people faster. You can subscribe to National Alert messages, when registering with Ourwatch.

Don’t complain about emails

In my experience those complaining the most about emails from Neighbourhood Watch are those who are not active as Watch coordinators but registered on the system.

Those using company email addresses switch their emails to holiday mode most often too. Please refer to my other post about creating an email address for watch purposes.

Please do not complain about emails from fellow watch members. Email is often the only way of communicating these days and hearing from your neighbours is stimulating and positive. We are very much trying to get more people to use email rather than less.

Unless emails are of an unwelcome personal nature, please do not complain. If emails are intimitaing make a formal complaint to the police about stalking or harrassment.

If things get too much for you, please just cancel your membership or registration. We need people who are active in their community, want to listen to others and welcome positive contributions.

I have had emails from people who are no longer living in the UK, being registered on the English system, and having failed to cancel their membership complain about too many emails. Others are registered but don’t really want to get involved with Neighbourhood Watch.

Please also log into your account and change your address if you move. Your registration will automatically be changed to your new area.

If you do not want to get involved, don’t register. Just press the unsubscribe button on Alert messages, or log into your Ourwatch account and delete your membership instead of complaining that you do not enjoy being involved.

You can put yourself on the OWL mailing list, where you get occasional police messages but also can only communicate with them at the SNT panel meetings, which are by invitation only. You cannot create a watch group on OWL but that may be the best place for all who just want to get occasionally newsletters from the police.

You can follow this blog to hear about this area or you can follow the many Twitter and Facebook messages that the Ourwatch network puts out on a daily basis for crime-prevention purposes.

We also have a Twitter account.

Ourwatch a community hub

There is a new beginning for Ourwatch, which is now asking all who register to either join or start a watch group. Makes a lot of good sense. It is now much easier for people to see the available groups to join when logging into an account.

There are those who do not want to get emails or engage with neighbours, that is your choice and you live with your own decisions. Of course you could make friends in pubs and clubs. However, if you have a structured and good context under which to meet with people then you are more likely not to be disappointed with relations.

Every employer, club, society, government, communicates via emails. The best way to handle it, is to set yourself daily goals. You can maximise your time by setting your own boundaries. With respect to emails, please just consider if you are happy to read and answer emails at all hours or just certain times of day.

Many modern phones can be set to quiet times, when you will not be disturbed by incoming pings. They also enable you to read your emails anywhere.

There are thousands of people in relatively small spaces in a city and getting to know them must be better than counting window frames.

A typical view for an Isle of Dogs resident. Getting to know people behind the brick and mortar is worthwhile.

Of coures you can sit in cafes and hope to meet someone too. But would you just sit in a cafe with a Neighbourhood Watch leaflet pinned to your coat or on the table? No, you would just sit there for casual conversations with anybody who comes and sits at your table. That is if they do.

Loneliness makes people vulnerable to exploitation from scammers, who exploit your weakness and desire to speak to others by demanding money with menaces. Having neighbours to talk to makes you that little bit less vulnerable to exploitation from strangers.

Ourwatch wants to positively enable you to meet your neighbours. Once the lock-down is over, you can meet again in person and arrange to meet your neighbours in cafes, parks and community centres or wherever you want to meet.

In the meantime you can communicate via email, chats other online groups in the knowledge that you communicate with follow citizens, who are foremost concerned with lawful conduct and are not out to do criminal actions.

Building local watch groups

Building local watch groups

Whilst I work on to sort out a 10-year back-log on the Ourwatch system for Tower Hamlets. I realise that there are a lot of people registered with local groups, which I currently all re-assign and establish for the purpose of growing local groups.

I have devised a smart instructions leaflet on how to use the Ourwatch system to grow your groups. Ourwatch is the ideal online system to maintain local groups for the community. The leaflets have been sent to already registred members and those on our mailing lists in the local community. A copy is available here. Link.

You can

  • map your group’s location, so that it shows online and promotes your group
  • invite others to join your group
  • allow others to apply to join your group
  • send group emails to manage your group

This system can be used completely free of charge and is suitable for community and Neighbourhood Watch groups. Neighbourhood Watch currently is working to widen it’s scope and appeal to a broader user group. There is a new strategic plan available for the movement. Link.

I can give induction talks to people if they wish, as soon as Covid-19 allows it. In the meantime please do not hesitate to ask for a chat via Microsoft Teams, which I would gladly arrange.

It is very important for our communities, that people do not become complacent and think that because they are registered on OWL, they can lean back and enjoy the feeling of them getting SNT newsletters being the only efforts they need to make in Neighbourhood Watch.

Neighbourhood Watch actually means speaking to your neighbours, getting to know them and keeping safe together whilst staying in touch. Staying in touch and talking to neighbours must be done in the community. No mailing list can replace that activity.

The stronger we feel in our communities, the less likely we are to fall prey to fraudsters of any kind.

The local watch community

One of our 20 PCSO’s John
Martin Shortis, our new chair for the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association

Just showing you a picture of one of your PCSO officers in Tower Hamlets. John knows his locals well.

We have around

350.000 residents, 20 SNT wards and 1 PCSO per ward.

Having spoken to some watch members over the phone last weekend, I noticed that one person thought that the police run Neighbourhood Watch.

Wrong, it’s us residents who run Neighbourhood Watch.

The clue lies in the name Neighbourhood Watch. It’s very important that we engage with people in our neighbourhood.

I am currently re-organising local watches. All those affected will get notified.

The one person who registered a huge area in Bow North as watch area and then used that to channel people into a closed Facebook group, instead of subscribing them to his Ourwatch Group, will have seen his watch area reduced to his local Neighbourhood.

Tonight we saw the national award for Neighbour of the year on the BBC’s 8. December 2020 edition of The BBC One Show. 

I suggest we award a local recognition to our new chair Martin Shortis, who tirelessly works for the local community. He posted letters through all our doors, delivering help me cards for those who need help with shopping or want to help others. Martin is our new chair and he is more than happy to help his neighbours and works within his local community. 

Sponsored support

We are very pleased to report that the National Neighbourhood Watch Network Ourwatch, has agreed to support the re-building of the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association by granting our application for their new Community Grant.

We decided to build an Association with an acting Chair and Secretary, signed the MoU and the Constitution. We’ll also aim to register the Association as Charitable Company with HMRC, so that we can start asking and receiving financial support from sponsors.

We are over the moon to be part of the brilliant national crime prevention campaign network and getting the ability to support local Neighbourhood Watch groups on a bigger scale. The Twitter and Facebook feeds from Ourwatch are very important to people all over Britain.

As our last AGM had to be cancelled, we’ll look forward to your support at our re-scheduled AGM on 12. January 2021. Details on our meetings page.

We’ll give advice to anybody wanting support building a Neighbourhood Watch group. Just register on Ourwatch and our Tower Hamlets scheme administrator will contact you for support.

  1. Go to the Ourwatch website
  2. select find my local scheme
  3. put in your post code
  4. ask to join an existing scheme or
  5. register and form your own scheme

We can supply you with canvassing forms to ask your neighbours to join or posters to put up in communal areas or stickers for your windows.