It is fifty years ago on 13th March just gone, since the murder of Kitty Genovese in the Borough of Queens, New York – a tragedy that resulted in the setting up of the world’s first Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the United States. Since then, Neighbourhood Watch was introduced in the UK in 1982 in the village of Mollington, Cheshire, but there it started as Home Watch and some areas of the country still use this title, Manchester being one. The name Neighbourhood Watch gradually took over and became the norm, with Neighbourhood Watch starting in Cardiff in 1985.
Our last meeting at the Cardiff International Hotel, Tongwynlais at which Mr Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales was our guest speaker, went very well with over 80 people in attendance which was excellent considering the dreadful weather on the night. I launched another new watch in Hoel Rhayader, Whitchurch in March which is now up and running successfully. I have recently taken part in two Operation Perception exercises with the Roath Neighbourhood Policing team in Plasnewydd and Splott which were very interesting as these were held on Sunday’s.
We worked in conjunction with South Wales Fire Service and had some very interesting results, hopefully some of them will lead to the setting up of new Neighbourhood Watch groups. There are two more of these Sunday operations lined up at which I will be in attendance, one in the Crwys Road area and the other in Adamsdown so hopefully we might get some more people on board. I will also be attending two “ordinary” Operation Perception exercises with the Fairwater Neighbourhood Policing Team shortly, one in the St Michaels Road/Palace Road, Llandaff area and the other in Danescourt so we will see how these go.
The Rogue Trader Week exercise run by South Wales Police has just ended and as part of this I manned a stand in the concourse of University Hospital of Wales together with a representative of South Wales Police Home Security and one from Trading Standards which was very interesting indeed. I also manned a stand at the challenge football match at Leckwith Stadium between a South Wales Police select eleven and the Sudanese Community. The purpose of this match was to strengthen links between the police and the Sudanese community of Cardiff and it was a very successful evening indeed especially as the police team included several ex Cardiff City players. The police won by the way.
National Neighbourhood Watch week this year is from 13th June till 22nd June and we are working flat out preparing events for this. We will be holding our “Pre-launch” event again in St David’s 2 as we did last year and will have several high profile names in attendance so if you are in the area on that day please come and have a chat with us. I have almost finalised the list of events for the rest of the week and these will be publicised prior to the start of the “week” via the South Wales Police Community Messaging Service, the South Wales Echo and as many other “outlets” as I can organise. We are hoping to close the “week” with a big event, the planning of which is ongoing at the moment, and are hoping to have a prominent celebrity to open this so, as they say, watch this space.
Our next General Meeting will be on the 20th May, 2014 and will be held at Whitchurch Rugby Club, Samuels Crescent (bottom of Velindre Road ), Whitchurch CF14 TH. Our guest speaker for the evening is Mr Peter Vaughan, Chief Constable of South Wales Police and the meeting is open to everyone so please come along and support us. The time scale for the evening is Light Refreshments at 6.30 pm with the meeting starting at 7.00 pm. There will be three display tables in the hall which are Victim Support, St John Ambulance and South Wales Fire Service.
I know that this is outside Cardiff but I attended a meeting at South Wales Police Headquarters Bridgend recently and helped to set up the Bridgend Neighbourhood Watch Association. I was so pleased to get this Association up and running at last as they have been in a state of limbo for quite a while and are now “back in the fold”.
If anyone is interested in setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group please contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team or contact our office on 02920 527301.
Bill Farnham, Chairman, South Wales Neighbourhood Watch Association Cardiff