A Cup of Tea and Natter – All Neighbourhood Watch Do Says Commissioner Graham Bright


Thursday, January 17th, 2013. 12:22am

Giving Neighbourhood Watch greater power, influence, and police resources, is one of Cambridgeshire’s new Police and Crime Commissioner Graham Bright’s top policies.

Following his election in November 2012 Commissioner Graham Bright made his first appearance at a local police priority setting meeting on the 10th of January 2013 when he attended Cambridge’s West/Central Area Committee.

At the Cambridge meeting, the first at which he has taken questions from the public, Mr Bright appeared to make a case against his own proposal to empower Neighbourhood Watch saying:

I have experience of my village Neighbourhood Watch.

You know, you sort of have a cup of tea, and a natter and that’s about as much as you do.

Actually to do something that’s proactive that’s what we really want people to do. You know. More so in the villages than in the towns, you’ve got lots to do in the town and lots of things happening.

Mr Bright appeared to be saying Neighborhood watch was a social activity to keep people amused, and that city/town residents didn’t need to create such diversions for themselves.

Mr Bright’s policy no. 8 (of the 10 in his “manifesto”) stated:

Upgrade Neighbourhood Watch by providing better resources and giving greater responsibility similar to London’s Neighbourhood Boards but based on parishes

My view is that a Police and Crime Commissioner ought give greater responsibility to elected local councillors who represent everyone in an area rather than the self selecting individuals who make up Neighbourhood Watch groups.

I think that the resources which go into supporting Neighbourhood Watch ought be used on initiatives which are open and accessible to all, and which benefit everyone. For example I think continuing the Ecops email system which anyone could sign up to made much more sense than funding special email updates, often duplicating the Ecops content, sent exclusively to those who are members of Neighbourhood Watch organisations.

ECops

I as a resident of North Cambridge, have not had an Ecops message since the 30th of November 2012 and that appears to have been the last message sent to any ECops subscribers in Cambridge. Perhaps one of the Commissioner’s first acts has been to kill off ECops?

Graham Bright’s village Neighbourhood Watch

Graham Bright took steps to stand for election while keeping his home address secret, however it has been reported that he lives in Fordham.

A “Graham Frank James Bright”, born in the same year as Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, is listed as a director of DIETARY FOODS LIMITED with an address of: Cumberland Place, Mill Lane, Fordham, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 5NQ.

I can find only one mention of Fordham, Cambridgeshire’s, Neighbourhood Watch group in a report on Snailwell Parish Council from 2003 in the Cambridge News which reported:

The Fordham Neighbourhood Watch area group will meet bimonthly from December.

I can find nothing else about the Neighbourhood Watch group in Fordham, if it really exists, at all.

I much prefer responsibilities for setting police priorities and holding the police to account lying with elected representatives who are democratically accountable, hold public meetings, and are required by law to operate in an open, transparent and accountable manner than handing this over to Neighbourhood Watch groups which are able to operate in almost total secrecy.

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2 comments/updates on “A Cup of Tea and Natter – All Neighbourhood Watch Do Says Commissioner Graham Bright

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      Thanks Ganesh, that’s interesting.

      My understanding is there’s a new system coming in; involving blogs and getting stuff online (which would be good) and that as a result it’s now more difficult for local officers to send out messages via ECops.

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