Getting started with Neighbourhood Watch

Getting involved with Neighbourhood Watch in your area can be a great way to help keep your community safe. It's not all about crime these days; it's about safety. This page should help you get started.


What’s out there?
First of all, check to see if there is a Neighbourhood Watch in your area already.  There may be a scheme that covers your house, or one nearby that you could join up with.  Use our Scheme Finder tool to see what’s in your area – you’ll be able to see if there’s a group already established in your area.  You can also  contact the co-ordinators of existing schemes or apply to join them.

If there’s no Neighbourhood Watch near you, you might consider starting your own.  Here’s how to go about it.

Check the interest

One of the first things you should do is find out if your neighbours are interested in the idea.  A Neighbourhood Watch is most effective when the majority of people in an area are members of the scheme and understand what it is about.  You can use our ‘Interest Form’ at the bottom of the page to see if people are interested.

If you don’t get the expected level of enthusiasm to begin with, consider starting with a smaller area.  A scheme can generally be of any size.  It can be a whole street, one side of the street, one half of the street, a cul-de-sac, a few cottages, a whole block of flats.  The scheme should be of a size that is easy to manage.  It’s often best to start smaller and expand.

Finding a way of working

When you have established that there is enough support, it is often a good idea to hold a meeting.  At this meeting you can make decisions about why you want to have a Neighbourhood Watch, and also about how it will run.  Prior to holding a meeting, you may wish to get in touch with the police or local authority in your area to see if they can lend any support or have any local resources you can use.

It’s not always strictly necessary to hold a meeting.  Your group may already have a means of communicating which allows discussion and agreement in a fair and accessible way.  You may already have structures in place which you can use (e.g. a Tenants & Residents Association).  You should find the way of working that best suits your group and use it.

Visit the How will your NW work? page for more ideas.

Register your Neighbourhood Watch
When you are sure you are going to go ahead and form a Neighbourhood Watch, you can register with Neighbourhood Watch Scotland.  This will ensure you are included in alerts, information and news that we send out.  It will also ensure that your scheme is covered by our Public Liability Insurance policy.

You can follow the registration process to register yourself as a coordinator, and your scheme.  Your members can also register and join your scheme.

When you register with us, you will receive an information pack, including window stickers for every household in your scheme.

If you have any questions about starting a scheme, please get in touch with us and we will be happy to assist you.