NHW Press release

Neighbourhood Watch Network press release
Monday 4 February 2019 
For immediate distribution 
STOP STEREOTYPING US AS ‘BUSY BODIES’, SAYS NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH 
Negative stereotypes of Neighbourhood Watch members as nosy curtain twitches are offensive, unproductive and responsible for putting people off joining the crime prevention movement, its leader said today (4 Feb).
The CEO of the Neighbourhood Watch Network, John Hayward-Cripps, argues that members are often portrayed as busy-bodies rather then citizens trying to make a positive impact upon their communities. 
The body, which oversees Neighbourhood Watch schemes across England and Wales, points to recent media coverage where it says its members are unfairly maligned. 
The ITV Sunday night crime drama Vera featured a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator who interfered with police investigations and is seen at one point following suspects involved in a murder.
A Guardian column by comic David Mitchell inferred that putting Neighbourhood Watch members in charge of law enforcement would result in crimes such as speeding and burglary being prioritised over online child abuse and modern slavery. 
John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of the Neighbourhood Watch Network, said: 
“Neighbourhood Watch volunteers are often characterized as a group of middle-class keyhole Kate’s - spying on the neighbours, interfering in people’s lives. This lazy stereotyping is harmful and does not reflect the real work of the modern Neighbourhood Watch. 
 “The idea that our members are only concerned with certain types of crime is baffling. Our volunteers run workshops to stop young people carrying knifes, we teach older people to spots the signs of potential scams and we have produced crime prevention toolkits that tackle human trafficking and terrorism. 
“The majority of police officers embrace the local knowledge and insight that our volunteers bring with them. We are viewed as vital partners in the effort to create safer and stronger communities.  Neighbourhood Watch is a grassroots movement open to anyone who wants to make their community a safer place. We would urge people to think twice before making assumptions about us.” 
Ends
John Hayward-Cripps is available for interview and comment regarding this story. Call 0116 402 6111 or email: William.Murphy@ourwatch.org.uk 
Note for editors 
1. Neighbourhood Watch has over 99,000 coordinators and 2.3 million-member households in England and Wales. 
2. Neighbourhood Watch is a proven crime deterrent with studies showing a reduction in criminal activity of up to 26% in areas where a scheme is in operation.
3. More information about Neighbourhood Watch, including the ability to join or register a scheme, is available at: www.ourwatch.org.uk
4. The Neighbourhood Watch Network can be found on Twitter (@N_Watch) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/ourwatch).

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