Our Neighbourhood Watch was set up on 22nd September 2008 following a meeting organised by Bournville Lane police who were looking to encourage their formation within the local area. The concept is to mobilise people within the street concerned to collaborate in matters surrounding their street’s environment and security based on a team of co-ordinators who actively recruit members from amongst the households and provide support and information to those who join.

Jo Pickup, Paul Rickards and Garry Sayers attended this meeting of street residents and listened to the outline of what was involved from two PCSO’s Jenny Lloyd and Stephanie Moore. Following this meeting, these three residents met to set up a hotmail account that would receive and allow response to queries to be released to its members, as well as a template for its own semi-regular newsletter. This was done fairly quickly as longstanding members will recall.

Both Garry and Paul appreciate the assistance given by Jo Pickup in these early stages, as the IT element of this aspect required a certain ‘know how’ and both of these elements of the Warwards Lane NHW have served us well over the first few years. We have also forged links with some of the other nearby street NHW groups, in Milner Road and Langleys Road, as they have similar issues to face in this often uncertain world. Forming and maintaining an NHW group is a difficult matter without a doubt.

Active recruitment has continued over the past three years, often returning to several households more than a few times, because people are out, and whilst we have not persuaded everyone to join, we now have over seventy-five households involved. We have organised several ‘Big Clean Ups’, timed to coincide with the end of the student terms as well as parties relating to the Queen’s 60th Jubilee and the Royal Wedding, photographs for which, appear elsewhere in this new website. We have also undertaken several vehicle speed watches and collected subscriptions annually.

In addition, we have provided several pieces of support material to all residents, including local students, working in conjunction with the local student warden scheme run by Birmingham University, and these have proved very successful. But all NHW groups need to evolve and in the long-run, the street’s need for persons willing to become more involved in the sort of events listed above, is becoming increasingly more apparent, as we all should be putting some of our time back into these. We have persisted in rejecting the old adage, “Somebody should!”

The organisation of these events takes time and the more persons involved the less time each of us has to give up as this is, after all, a voluntary organisation, and nobody should expect a monopoly of somebody else’s time. Our NHW group does need more active members, as it is only fair that the benefits enjoyed by everyone are supported in turn by the majority of the households who are physically able to do so. In the long-run, we are seeking additional co-ordinators to volunteer to become responsible for around ten households each.

We organise three NHW meetings each year that have always been held at the New Dogpool Hotel and, whilst we aim to provide ample notice of these events, numbers never seem to rise above twenty-four individuals, and more often than not, it is mainly the same people. Ultimately, it is the Warwards Lane NHW group and not just a soap box for one or two individuals and, like everyone else, our collective time is precious and the greater involvement of others is a matter that we will continue to push very hard. We do look to involve everyone as far as possible, and if we can improve on this, your comets are welcome, as ever.

We have, it is fair to say, developed a membership higher than most streets, many of whom have no NHW organisation at all, and we shall certainly be recruiting once more in the lighter Spring evenings. Looking back, the evolutionary process has been a learning curve for all of us. Without the support of the PCSO’s; Jenny Lloyd and Stephanie Moore, in the early years, where we are now, would not have been possible, as they acted as liaison with Bournville Lane police station. We had to request financial support that enabled us to purchase the inks, paper and printer that allow us to be self-sufficient in preparing our own literature.

PCSO Jenny Lloyd graduated to the main police force, and PCSO Stephanie Moore was deployed into another ward. We now have Adrian Richardson and Carl Barrington patrolling our area and we continue to deal with them in the wake of the recent organisational changes. Both of them are happy to discuss any issues that residents may have and we are looking to involve them and the Bournville Lane police station in providing some more regular feedback via the website on matters that are of particular interest. Members can of course continue to submit e-mails in the usual way.

The police have always been of the opinion that residents in any street should be aware of incidents as they happen, and therefore, in position to quickly make the police aware of the details. Warwards Lane Neighbourhood Watch forms a link between the police and our street’s residents, and all of us have a responsibility not only to themselves, but also to the community as a whole. “Somebody should!” really doesn’t resonate with the concept of neighbourliness. The reporting of incidents is vital to ensure that the street has the required level of policing and ensure we and our property is kept safe.

Maintaining a low level of criminal activity within the street is something we can assist in by being more careful and vigilant and by caring about our neighbours’ well being. Many insurance companies do offer small discounts of around 5% on buildings and contents premiums if the policyholder can prove they are a member of an official NHW group. Reducing crime also improves our livelihoods and those of the people around us. We have produced information on the best means of reporting crimes and these are stored within the library of documents attached to this website.


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