Major drive to expand Neighbourhood Watch

June 29 2019
Major drive to expand Neighbourhood Watch

WELLS Neighbourhood Watch is launching a major drive to increase its coverage of the city’s residential areas.

While Neighbourhood Watch is a national programme, the Wells volunteer co-ordinators and members play an important role in protecting Wells residents from crime by keeping an eye out for anything suspicious in their street and, particularly, by checking to see that any vulnerable neighbours are safe and well.

As part of the new initiative, a Wells Neighbourhood Watch public meeting is being held on Tuesday, July 9, at Wells Little Theatre in Chamberlain Street, starting at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend to listen and to have their say, and there will also be a guest speaker, retired police dog handler Pete Chaplin.

Simon Lawder, the new chair of Wells Neighbourhood Watch, said: “I’ve lived in this area since the late 1970s and I love the place. But, just because it’s a quiet historic city, we mustn’t fool ourselves into believing that we’re out of reach of professional thieves.

“Recent increases in robberies, often from outbuildings and sheds, and anti-social behaviour have been widely reported. They happen when and where they are least expected.

“Neighbourhood Watch is one way of deterring these people. Seeing our signs in your street and windows may just persuade them to take their business elsewhere.”

Representatives from Wells Neighbourhood Watch met recently with the Wells police beat team and agreed to continue their strong working relationships.

“The police see us as an essential arm of community safety,” said Simon.

“We have a number of groups already in Wells but there are far too few, in our joint view. The police agree with us that Wells would be a lot safer if every street had its own Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

“So we’re now appealing for potential volunteer co-ordinators in every part of the city to join us. As a co-ordinator myself, I can assure everyone that it will take you no more than a couple of hours a month and cost you nothing. You receive regular police advice on keeping things safe, and early warnings of possible criminal activity.

“You then share information with your neighbours. And that’s it.

“When it comes down to it, this is no more than communities have always done – looking out for each other. Please, get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.”

Simon can be contacted by calling 01749 572672 or emailing

The public meeting on July 9 will discuss community safety and allow people to meet others who care about their neighbourhood.

During the meeting, former police dog handler Pete Chaplin will talk about his determination to take on the role, his 20 years on the section and his dogs: and one dog in particular, which became his unique canine partner.

• Picture: Simon Lawder is the new chair of Wells Neighbourhood Watch