Neighbourhood Watch in Hertfordshire reaches 100,000 homes milestone
Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) in Hertfordshire reached a massive milestone recently when its membership reached 100,000 households across the county.

Neighbourhood Watch is based on the simple idea that by being a good neighbour, you can help make your community more secure by looking out for your neighbours; keeping an eye on their homes while they are away; and receiving and sharing crime prevention advice to help keep yourselves safe and your homes and property protected.

In Hertfordshire the scheme is underpinned by the award-winning OWL (Online Watch Link) internet-based facility.  Through the system, Neighbourhood Watch members receive regular updates and alerts from their local policing team via email, or by telephone if preferred.  Neighbourhood Watch coordinators use the database facility to manage and develop their Watches.

 With 100,000 members, more than 1 in 5 (22 per cent) of homes in the county are now signed up to the scheme.

Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators, the Chair of Herts Watch, Hertfordshire Constabulary Community Safety Staff and the Inventor of OWL all joined together at Police Headquarters on Friday, February 4 to mark the occasion.

 Chair of Herts Watch, Hertfordshire’s Neighbourhood Watch Committee, Sue Thompson said: “This is an incredible achievement and could not have happened without the partnership working of volunteer coordinators and the police Safer Neighbourhood Teams across the county.  Thanks must also be paid to the police Watch Liaison Team.

“At the heart of the success also lies the Online Watch Link (OWL) database and messaging system, which was developed by Gary Fenton almost ten years ago.  The messages sent out not only ensure residents are kept informed and aware of crime trends in their areas and provide appropriate security and safety advice, but they also encourage residents to report suspicious incidents through 101 or 999.

“We are so lucky to live in a county where the residents value and promote NHW and hope the schemes continue to grow steadily across the county in the future.”

Gary Fenton, the inventor of OWL from Hatfield based Direct Path Solutions, said: “When OWL went online in Hertfordshire ten years ago, NHW was this niche group scattered thinly across the county with barely a thousand accountable members.  Now we have one in five homes fully signed across the county, covering over 10,000 streets.

“Hertfordshire has massively grown their watches and membership to an incredible level where 100,000 homes are directly contactable by the police at the press of a button where an alert or appeal is far more likely to be seen and read than using social media alone and over 1,000 extra homes in the county are signing up every month.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd said: “It’s great to see such a strong Neighbourhood Watch in Hertfordshire. 100,000 member households is an achievement to be commended. The scheme creates areas where people look out for each other, engenders community spirit and ultimately makes the county safer. 

“Neighbourhood Watch is a great scheme for people to get involved in. Volunteering, as a watch member or in another similar way, can make a huge difference to the security of others and to the overall safety of an area and I’d encourage more people to join.” 

You can sign up to Neighbourhood Watch by visiting or alternatively, contact the Watch Liaison Team