An innovative new Neighbourhood Watch website has today been launched by the crime prevention minister, Baroness Browning
Developed with Home Office funding and Design Council expertise, www.ourwatch.org.uk uses mapping, messaging and crime-reporting facilities to make it easy for members to share information.
Meanwhile, it is hoped that using social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter will improve communication with the public and also attract new members to the scheme which already boasts 173,000 groups nationwide.
And the new website, which officially launches today to mark national Neighbourhood Watch week, has also been short listed in the Nominet internet awards 2011 for its 'groundbreaking' work.
Minister for crime prevention and antisocial behaviour reduction Baroness Browning praised the push to get more people involved in the scheme: 'Neighbourhood Watch is a great example of how communities can come together to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and make our streets safer.
'But it's important we keep this movement alive by encouraging new and more diverse membership, as well as embracing new and different ways of communicating.
'We know people lead busy lives and it is not always easy to spare the time to attend a regular meeting or get involved all of the time. That is how the new website can help. By logging on people can keep up to date with what is going on in their area; as well as this, it can help groups to keep in touch and share information online.'
To complement the new website, a Business and Technology Education Council qualification to train a new generation of volunteers is set to begin this week.