Frequently asked questions

What is Neighbourhood Watch Scotland (NWS)?

It is a Scottish charity which helps promote safety and resilience in our communities.

It circulates safety messages using the Neighbourhood Alert system, which comes from trusted sources and is aimed to get to the right people at the right time, keeping the neighbourhood alert.

It currently supports around 2,000 Neighbourhood Watches across Scotland, bringing people together in local and themed groups. This helps communities become safer and more resilient through awareness, advice and communication, sharing key crime and other safety-related news quickly.

What is a Neighbourhood Watch (NW)?

A Neighbourhood Watch is a community led initiative bringing local people together to address crime and other community safety issues in their area. Watches often liaise with local police and local authorities to raise concerns in their neighbourhood.

To set up a Watch you can register by visiting our website, and selecting “Sign up for Alerts”,

If you need assistance to register, or require further information on running a NW please contact NWS by email, or call on 01786 462732.

What are the advantages of setting up, or becoming a member of, my local Neighbourhood Watch Group/Scheme?

There are many benefits to becoming a coordinator or member of your local Watch including:

  • Access to the Neighbourhood Alert system which distributes safety information from a trusted source.
  • Membership improves community spirit, resilience and a feeling of wellbeing in communities.
  • It provides access to Community Policing forums and sources of support; you’re never alone.

NWS have recently developed a relationship with various organisations to provide Neighbourhood Watch members with some monetary benefits.  These include discounted home insurance as well as a discount code for Truecall, Patlock and SelectaDNA home marking kits.

For further information contact us by email, or call on 01786 462732.

How do I set up a Watch or become a member of my local Neighbourhood Watch Group/Scheme? First step is to check if there is already a Watch in your area.

First step is to check if there is already a Watch in your area.  You can do this by clicking on the following link and entering your postcode.  If there is a Watch local, you can apply to join it.

If there is not a Watch nearby, please read on…

You could find out if your neighbours are interested in the idea. NWS have a template letter to post through neighbours’ letterboxes to gauge interest, please contact us if you would like a copy.  If there is not a Watch in your area, but you would like to start one, you can choose how big or small you want to begin with, a cul-de-sac or a street, an entire estate or village.

If you have decided to start a Watch then please register the details by visiting the Neighbourhood Watch Scotland website, and selecting “Sign up for Alerts”, or if you require assistance please contact us by phone, 01786 463732.

The final step is to decide how you are going to share information with your members.  Remember it’s “Your Watch, Your Way” so pick what works for your group.  This could be sharing information on WhatsApp, Email or a note through the door.

Running a Neighbourhood Watch Group/Scheme is a very effective way of sharing information quickly.

There are lots of ideas on the website to create community spirit.

Messages alone make people feel part of the community but you could also try a litter pick, a meeting or coffee event.

Whatever you decide, or whatever help you need, we are always at the end of an email or telephone 01786 463732.

What should I do once my Watch has been registered?

Once your Watch has been set up we will send you an introductory pack.  Within this pack you will receive some window stickers, useful fliers, our most recent newsletter, Safer Communities Safer Scotland booklets and a coordinators guide to help you get started.

If you need any assistance, guidance or support we are here so please feel free to contact us on 01786 463732 or drop us an email at

How can I encourage members to join my Watch?

NWS have two documents that can help encourage neighbours to join.

Firstly, there is a template letter which explains to neighbours that a Neighbourhood Watch has been set up in the area.  The letter highlights who the coordinator is, the benefits of joining a Watch, issues the Watch will look at as well as details of how to join.  This letter can be amended to suit each individual Watch as each area will have different issues.

Secondly, it has a sign up flier.  This flier could be used on a social media page where the coordinator would explain a little about the Watch, then the flier would then be uploaded to accompany the text.  The flier explains how to join a local Watch.

What should I do if I wish to step down as coordinator of my Neighbourhood Watch?

In the first instance NWS would ask that you contact those already associated with your Watch and ask if anyone would like to take on the role as coordinator.

If they do, then they should sign up, if not already, to the Neighbourhood Alert system by visiting the website, , and selecting “Sign up for Alerts”.  Once they have completed registration, they should then drop an email to or telephone 01786 463732 and let us know.  NWS will then manually amend the Watch record to display the new amendments and assign them as coordinator.

If no one wishes to take on the coordinator role please contact NWS, by email or telephone 01786 463732, to let us know and we can remove the Watch from our systems.

How can I revive an existing Neighbourhood Watch Scheme?

Due to many reasons some Watches become inactive over the years.  If you have applied to join a Watch and have not heard anything from the coordinator please get in touch with us and we can check if the coordinator is still associated with the Watch.  They have perhaps moved or had to stop running the Watch due to personal reasons.  If the coordinator no longer wishes to run the Watch, we can let you know.

If you would then like to take on an inactive Watch within your area to get it back up and running, NWS can amend the information held and set you up as coordinator. NWS will also help support you to get you started.

You can reach us by phone on 01786 463732, or by email

How do I involve Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and/or Local Authority in my Watch?

You can contact Police Scotland through the contact form on its website, or call 101 and ask to speak to your local Community Police Officer.

You can contact Scottish Fire and Rescue Service by sending an email, stating your area, Watch name and a small introduction as to what you are looking for, to

Contact your local authority and ask to speak to your local Community Safety Lead.

If your area is experiencing antisocial behaviour (ASB) specifically, you can search your local authority website for ASB.  The site will provide either an email address, phone number or reporting form where you can report and raise your concerns.

How do I order signage?

NWS has various products that can be purchased by Watches and put up in your neighbourhood.  Please visit our online shop .

If you are looking to access funding for your Watch to purchase items please contact us and NWS records can be checked to see if contact details are held for your local funding Officer.

You can reach NWS by phone on 01786 463732, or by email

How much does it cost to run a Neighbourhood Watch?

It really depends on how you want to run your Watch.  It can range from being free to costing as much as you wish to spend.

For example, if you share information electronically and have a buddy system, then it would not cost anything.

If you choose to post appropriate information through your neighbours doors, then the cost would be paper and ink for your printer.

If you have perhaps raised funds through fetes, or bake sales, etc or sought funding, then perhaps you would like to purchase Neighbourhood Watch materials for your local area or street entrances.

Please visit our online shop  to view our products.

If you are looking to access funding for your Watch to purchase items please contact us and NWS records can be checked to see if contact details are held for your local funding Officer.

You can reach NWS by phone on 01786 463732, or by email

What is the Neighbourhood Alert system?

Neighbourhood Alert is a free communication tool that allows key information to be sent out in a timely manner. Neighbourhood Alert messages can be sent out geographically or demographically.

Each message is specifically targeted and comes from a trusted source, such as Police Scotland, Scottish Fire & Rescue Services, Local Authority and ourselves.  The messages primarily focus on issues of crime, safety and resilience.

If you sign up to the Neighbourhood Alert system you can tailor the Alert system to include topics of interest to you and your neighbourhood and exclude topics of no interest.

How do I sign up for ALERTS?

Visit, click “Sign up for Alerts” and follow the simple steps to sign up.

How can I receive information from NWS if I don’t have access to the internet?

Contact our friendly team at the office to find out if there is a Watch near you.

If there is, NWS can pass your address and phone number, with your approval, onto the coordinator who can then print out any relevant information and post it through your letterbox, or call you to have a chat and explain any issues you should be aware of.

If there is not a Watch in your area, you could ask a family member to register on your behalf.  Not only can the person registering sign up to receive Alerts for their area, but can also select various areas around Scotland.

Once I sign up to Neighbourhood Alert will you share my details with other agencies?

During the registration process and in your 'administration' area you will have the opportunity to review and select additional licensed information providers who will, if authorised by you, be able to see your data and send you messages. Although all the information providers listed may not be actively using the system at this time, you will be notified as they come on board.

You can remove any information provider at any time.

Can I change my contact details if I move house or internet provider?

Yes, you can use the links at the bottom of a Neighbourhood Alert message or log into your account from the Neighbourhood Watch Scotland website 

What should I do if I receive suspicious correspondence?


In Scotland, report all scams to Advice Direct Scotland by calling 0808 164 6000 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) or online at

Suspicious Emails

You can forward suspicious emails to

Scam Websites

You can send links from websites, which you think are trying to scam the public, to the National Cyber Security Centre's scam website reporting service at

Suspicious Text Messages

If you receive a suspicious text message you can forward it to 7726. The free-of-charge ‘7726’ service enables your provider to investigate and take action if malicious content is found.

What should I do if I have been the victim of fraud?

If you have been the victim of fraud, contact your bank or building society and report it to Police Scotland on 101 or 999 in an emergency.