Neighbourhood Watch in Merton has increased by 60% in the past year (to January 2003), and now has 175 schemes across the borough. Merton Police have a dedicated Neighbourhood Watch Manager, Sergeant Annette Anderson, who is based at Wimbledon Police Station.
Neighbourhood Watch has been proven to reduce crime and the fear of crime. A questionnaire was sent to all the street co-ordinators (i.e. of Neighbourhood Watch schemes - not the Residents' Association's road stewards) in the borough in August, and 87% felt safer by being a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Other benefits from joining a scheme can include a discount on your home insurance.
There are no disadvantages when joining or starting a scheme. It is a fairly simple process, but a volunteer co-ordinator is needed. This is not a time-consuming rôle, but is a link between your street or block of flats and the police. You are not working for the police ; the scheme is run by its members and supported by us.
Once a scheme has been launched, the co-ordinator will receive a monthly crime update and crime sheet. Sergeant Anderson also publishes a newsletter twice a year, which the co-ordinator would be responsible for delivering.
A pilot e-mail initiative is currently being carried out in West Barnes, in the area of Arthur Road, Kingsway, Tennyson Road and part of West Barnes Lane. The co-ordinator for this area carried out a letter drop asking members if they wished to receive "crime alerts" from Merton Police. The idea is that Sergeant Anderson or the beat manager can e-mail the co-ordinator, who will in turn forward the e-mail to all residents who are interested in receiving this information. Recent crime alerts have highlighted bogus callers and other scams operating in the borough. So if you do live in these roads, please e-mail the co-ordinator (address on the letter you will have received) or contact Sergeant Anderson on the number below.
The following roads in Raynes Park and West Barnes currently (in January 2003) have schemes registered with the police :
Raynes Park and West Barnes need more Neighbourhood Watch schemes. If you are interested in starting such a scheme, contact Sergeant Annette Anderson at Wimbledon Police Station (telephone 020-8649 4021 or e-mail email@example.com).