The smooth operation of Neighbourhood Watch in the village of Wedmore and its immediate surrounding two villages and hamlets has been in the capable hands of local octogenarian Village Co-ordinator, Roy Millward for the past 25 years, assisted for the past 12 years by his Deputy, Alan Blythe, who, whilst not quite as mature, his similarly advancing years mean that he intends to “hang up his boots” at the same time as Roy during early March this year!
Roy originally saw a need for Neighbourhood Watch Police alerts to be circulated quickly at a time when messages could only be transmitted by physically posting them through neighbours’ letterboxes or laboriously “cascading” them down a series of linked phone callers to ensure that local residents were kept up to date.
Indeed, when Alan started to assist Roy in 2008, he recollects that circulating alert posters and Police Newsletters took him all of 90 minutes and covered a walk of around of some 2/3 miles – NOT really practical or efficient if crime incidents follow the day on day or even trying to circulate multiple alerts in one day!
In recent years the advent of electronic communications via emails has meant that local NW Co-ordinators can receive and transmit alerts from Police HQ to their individual local residents in a matter of minutes and the latest trend towards direct communication from Police HQ to each local co-ordinator means that – apart from the task of finding, appointing and replacing co-ordinators to cover each patch – the role of the Village Co-ordinator (& his Deputy!) is not as onerous nor crucial as it once was.
We have indeed been fortunate in Wedmore to enjoy a relatively crime-free existence in recent years, but modern crime doesn’t stand still and we still get many Police alerts detailing local burglaries and online scams, which are justifiably worrying to many local elderly residents; without regular Neighbourhood Watch alerts, crime trends and particular current threats would go largely unnoticed and make us all even more vulnerable to criminal exploitation.
So Neighbourhood Watch IS still relevant AND necessary in the Police’s unceasing commitment for our protection from crime and our future security.
Roy and Alan are hoping for a largely trouble-free departure from their “headline” village-wide roles, but will still function as local NW Co-ordinators on their immediate patches.
Would you like to help as a Village Co-Ordinator or in some other way?