Kettering is the Neighbourhood Watch scheme capital of Northamptonshire

Cllr Michael Brown, Jane Calcott and Lesley Thurland
Cllr Michael Brown, Jane Calcott and Lesley Thurland

More than 50 new Neighbourhood Watch schemes were set up in Kettering in 2013.

It means the borough can boast almost three times as many per resident as the rest of the county.

There are now 357 such schemes in the borough of Kettering, out of a county-wide total of about 1,200.

It is the equivalent of one initiative for every 266 people living in Kettering.

For the rest of the county, there are more than 700 people per scheme.

Jane Calcott, neighbourhood watch (NHW) liaison officer for Kettering – a role which, uniquely in Northamptonshire, receives borough council funds – has urged residents in other streets to sign up for neighbourhood watch.

She said: “Don’t wait until there is a crime in your area before deciding you want to set a scheme up.

“We are privileged here because Kettering Council funds my position.

“It helps me, based at the station, to keep in touch with the safer community team. We are very well off in Kettering.”

She says having a watch in place dramatically reduces people’s risk of falling victim to burglars, from one in 47 in areas without a scheme to one in 400 in those areas which do have one in place.

And she also said the initiative has more benefits than just extra security, adding: “We are hoping to bring a better sense of community to people, to arrive at an old-fashioned community spirit.”

Cllr Michael Brown, who is using part of his ward initiative fund to pay for new NHW signs in his ward, said he also wanted to encourage people to sign up.

He added: “It was a push to ask residents to think about starting a NHW scheme in their area.”

To find out more about setting up a neighbourhood watch scheme in your area, call Jane Calcott on 03000 111222, extension 343472.

Meanwhile, residents of the town were this week encouraged to sign up for a separate Street Watch scheme, which would see members of the public on patrol in a bid to deter would-be criminals.

History of scheme

First established in the United States in the 1950s, the inaugural neighbourhood watch scheme – then known as Home Watch – in the UK was formed in Cheshire in 1982.

Today, almost four million British households are covered by such schemes.

The aim of the watch is to reduce crime and also foster an increased sense of community spirit where people care about the place they live.