Notes of the Annual General Meeting of the Rutland Neighbourhood Watch Association. Held in the Rutland County Council, Council Chamber, Catmose Street, Oakham, LE15 6HW.
7pm-9.5pm, 13th June, 2018.
Present: Adrian Gombault (AG) Chair, Ruthven Horne (RH), Sian Dawson (SD) John Kennedy (JK) (Board members) plus: David Hodson, Michael Arnold, Richard Foster, Mrs Sturley, Mark Carnell, Sheila Halliday-Pegg, Roy Hosmer, David Webb, Rosemary Gooding, Bruce Gilliver, and Peter Martin.
Apologies received from: William Cross, Peter Ritchie, Adele Stainsby, Ian Dobson, and Andrew Wallace.
The AGM commenced at 7pm with an off-agenda item, a short presentation by David Harvey, a police volunteer, about the serious outbreak of theft of lead from church roofs in the county.
Advice was given on the scale of the problem, the threat and the options available on how best to protect local churches, followed by questions.
If thieves were encountered in the process of crime a call by 999 was urged and quoting the term ‘Operation Battlement’ which would trigger a coordinated Police response.
Mark Carnell informed the speaker he had been keeping a look out on the Empingham Church for just such a development. Thieves were seen, and he dialled 999. Police did not attend, and they made good their escape.
David said this was disappointing to say the least he would take the matter up.
(NB. Post meeting enquiries reveal, there was one Police response vehicle available, whilst responding to the Empingham call it was diverted to a ‘knife incident’ in Oakham, which, since it was potentially a life-threatening incident took precedence.)
Returning to the Agenda, there then followed a series of short presentations on:
1. Communications covering the smartphone app and the website.
After an outline of the latest developments, there was an appeal for volunteers to help the Administrator Jan Warren. Despite it being an excellent communications facility, without further support there is a real danger it will collapse. All present were asked to try to identify anyone who might be willing to help.
A discussion then took place around a promotional plan to extend the number of ‘users’. Coordinators were felt to be the best means of securing new subscribers and were offered the latest leaflets of the smartphone app to distribute at local fetes over the summer, since one-to-one demonstration was usually found to be highly effective. In addition, they were asked to publicise the app on village websites and through the newsletters and social media: templates containing suitable copy would be supplied in the near future.
2. Data Protection.
In view of the recent changes to the Data Protection legislation a short presentation was made, giving a summary of the law and the implications for Neighbourhood Watch.
The Regulations were largely targeted at sales and marketing organisations. Coordinators were reassured, if the purpose of the data held by them was purely to keep members updated on RNHWA matters, historical data was acceptable without amendment.
One area that did affect us was the accuracy of our database records. We suspect these are not up to date and attempts to clarify this by e-mail were not successful. It is quite likely we will have to allocate each board member with a number of ‘entries’ to ring all those we are unsure about during the coming year.
A form for the completion of ‘new members’ would be circulated to address those joining after the legislation to cover the necessary information and signed authority from the member.
3. Organisation and Structure.
A series of options were currently being considered for changes within the organisation. Two presentations were given on the changes that were being considered and piloted by the board to try to cope to with the change options for areas large and small.
The first was the Ketton Project which aimed at encompassing all 2000 population.
Whilst the second was looking at (a) ‘Clusters’, a support mechanism for Coordinators, and (b) ‘Cocoons’, a mini NHW where 4-5 neighbours cooperated in keeping a look out for each other.
4. Any Other Business.
a. There was a display of security items for sale by the Police. Should Co-ordinators wish to purchase or ‘borrow’ these items to be displayed at fetes etc they could be obtained from Will Ryan at the Customer Services counter in the County Hall.
b. Smartphone app leaflets were available for Coordinators to take away and distribute to members.
c. Coordinator Packs, which were issued to Coordinators two years ago at this meeting, were issued to three new coordinators. Any coordinator who does not have one should request one from the Board. It was agreed that new or replacement pages could be circulated in future by e-mail, for Coordinators to copy and insert into their packs.
The AGM commenced at 8.45pm.
Present: Adrian Gombault (AG) Chair, Ruthven Horne (RH), Sian Dawson (SD) John Kennedy (JK) (Board members) plus: 11 members.
Apologies received from: William Cross, Peter Ritchie, Adele Stainsby, Ian Dobson, and Andrew Wallace.
Minutes of the previous AGM on 14th June 2017,
After being read out, their accuracy was proposed by Dave Hodson and seconded by Roy Hosmer.
The Directors Yearly Report was circulated to all and RH highlighted one or two key points. A copy will be placed on the RNHWA website. (See below)
The Financial Report was summarised by SD with a copy available on the website. Current assets are approximately £1000.
Re-election of the Board.
AG explained that the four directors present, AG, RH, SD (Treasurer), and JK were prepared to stand again; Alastair McCrindle was standing down. We do not have a Chairman, and it was hoped the jobs of that position would be shared out amongst the Board. Whilst jobs were shared out, e.g. he chaired many meetings, RH the last Chairman still received many of the day to day jobs etc. However, he would be retiring from the board at the end of this next year, so new nominations were requested.
No new nominations for the board were received, and it was asked all four directors be returned unopposed, and this was unanimously agreed. Coordinators were asked, as an alternative to consider whether any of their members might be willing and suitable for cooption to the Board: in which case their names should be forwarded to the Board at the earliest opportunity.
Funding: appeal for local support.
The yearly expense of the smartphone app was highlighted, plus the difficulty of meeting routine organisational costs. AG said that his Parish made a small cash donation to the local NHW groups, and others claimed to receive similar funding. He asked the meeting if they felt it appropriate to write to each Town and Parish Council asking if they might make a small pro rata donation to NHW. It was proposed by Richard Foster (Stretton Parish and Rutland County Council cabinet member) and seconded by David Hodson (Greetham Parish Councillor).
Revised Mission Statement.
AG very briefly explained the impact lower Board numbers had upon the Mission Statement. It was clear many items could no longer be delivered and so it was felt necessary to amend it to be more realistic. This was still being worked upon and would be circulated for comment before changes were confirmed.
Revised Articles and Memorandum of Association.
We are a limited company and a registered charity. We are now a part of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Neighbourhood Grouping which also is a charity and has its own Constitution. It was felt necessary to ensure there was no conflict between the documents.
After comparing the two, there is no conflict at all, with both documents clearly drawn from the same source.
Any Other Business.
AG wished to place on record the appreciation of all for the work of Alastair McCrindle, the retiring director. He had been a founding director of the RNHWA and been involved with Neighbourhood Watch locally, regionally and at National level for over 20 years; his contribution would be missed.
There being no further business the meeting was closed at 9.10pm.
Supplementary Report. Directors Report to the RNHWA AGM 13.6.18.
Report to the Annual General Meeting of the Rutland Neighbourhood Watch on 13th June 2018, by Ruthven Horne, Director
There are many advantages to living in a rural idyll such as Rutland, but the relatively low crime rate and high quality of life creates its own challenges, certainly for Neighbourhood Watch. How does an organisation with Crime Prevention at its heart, overcome resident complacency towards crime? What do we do if we can’t attract the necessary volunteers to deliver our services? These are the questions we must resolve and we would like your help.
The knock-on effect of a lack of volunteers is felt at all levels:
• coordinators find difficulty in attracting members;
• the frequent lack of a successor leads to the collapse of the Watch or initiative;
• the Board has struggled to find Trustees (we have not had a Secretary for 3 years);
• proactive work in developing new Watches or initiatives is minimal, e.g. in the new housing developments or in trying to reduce vulnerability or isolation; and
• The role of the Board is changing, to representation, co-ordination, and liaison with key partners, with little capacity for development and facilitating change.
Key Developments 2017/18.
• At the request of the Police we developed a contact and reporting system on our smartphone app for Heritage Watch, a police initiative. Run by the Police and volunteers, it is designed to address amongst other things theft of lead from churches.
• We upgraded the ‘free’ smartphone app with many new features including online crime reporting. We now have over 1600 ‘users’ in Rutland; most are not members of the NHW.
• We are promoting the app with Anglian Water. The greater the ‘user’ take up, the easier it is to attract the funding to pay the yearly hosting fee (£410), so please help in promoting use.
• A RNHWA website has recently been introduced to act as a support for the app in recording detailed articles. Thanks to the hard work of Jan Warren our Administrator, use has been far above expectations; it is still developing.
• A representative has been trained as a Police Community Volunteer, so he can access the Police crime data to enhance circulation by app, website, and e-mail. The aim is to provide relevant information to users, Beat by Beat.
Well planned and executed crime prevention is the key to reducing crime.
In the year ahead, we intend to:
a. Develop a better working relationship with Town and Parish Councils;
b. To recruit more volunteers;
c. Find alternative ways of working;
d. Develop a pilot scheme covering the whole of Ketton and Tinwell (pop 2000) that will make Community Safety more effective for all. The objectives are to establish communication with them all, and recruit volunteers to small special interest teams who will identify and address problems. The first problem is to reduce burglary by 30%.
e. Increase dramatically the number of users of the smartphone/tablet app.
‘The Ketton Project is a blog of the actions and personal views of Russ Horne, the Acting Chairman of the RNHWA, during work to improve Community Safety in the Parishes of Ketton and Tinwell. It is ‘work in progress’, and the ‘Project’ will be launched at 7.30pm, on Tuesday 8th May, 2018, at the Annual Ketton Parish Council meeting, which coincidentally will be attended by Lord Willy Bach, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and Simon Cole, Chief Constable of the Leicestershire Police. I estimate my involvement with the Project will last until the Project Evaluation Report (approximately 18 months), after which the Project should be firmly in the hands of local Ketton and Tinwell residents.
I am a retired Police officer (Superintendent Met Police) and have been involved with the RNHWA for about 5 years as Chairman and Director. I worked with Jan Warren to develop her idea of the Rutland smartphone app, and was recently accepted as a Leicestershire Police Community Volunteer in which capacity I will shortly work out of Oakham Police Station to try to improve the flow of Crime Alerts across the County for the RNHWA smartphone app, Rutland E-mail alerts, and this website. I continue to be the Coordinator for Glaston Village Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
The Purpose of the Blog is to:
(a) Outline practice to stimulate rural initiatives.
(b) Solicit Comments and views of ‘best practice’ to inform some of the issues highlighted;
(c) Generate interest amongst current Neighbourhood Watch members;
(d) Identify persons interested in ‘volunteering’ to assist RNHWA in some way; and
(e) Identify any persons interested in joining the Police Community Volunteers in Rutland.
If you have comments on any aspect of the Project, please direct them to email@example.com and I will reply as soon as possible. Please be patient with my blog style, this is the first I have ever done, but also there are only two volunteers, Jan and myself, we endeavour to deal with the app, website, and ‘other things’. This is a slight exaggeration, as Jan does most of the work.
Local Crime continues to increase for the second year in succession.
• During the 12 months ending March 2018, crime reports in Rutland totalled 1521, an increase of 150 (approx. 10%), over a comparable period ending March 2017.
• During this same period, there were 198 Burglary reports, an increase of 40 (25%).
This is a time of significant change for residents, with fewer visible officers, rising crime, changing police methods, and demographic change driven by new housing.
• The Neighbourhood Beat Officers will now provide the visible link with communities for Intelligence gathering, Crime Prevention and Partnership working. Use them or lose them.
• Police investigations are now ‘intelligence led’; if there is no evidence to help identify a suspect, the ‘report’ may not be pursued. All crimes must be reported to ensure the type and pattern of offences can be analysed for crime prevention purposes.
• ‘Crime Prevention’ and ‘Intelligence gathering’ have always been important, but the recent changes make them even more significant in analysing and detecting crimes.
• The Police and Crime Commissioner made it clear public involvement in reducing crime, must move beyond Consultation to active problem solving.
We have worked hard to deliver a good Communication package and Partner relations, but our weakness has been in failure to attract sufficient Volunteers, either to form new NHW groups or assist in a support role.
Some areas are better served than others, so we need to be flexible in our approach, but there is little doubt better promotion or publicity is needed to overcome complacency. We must be prepared to try different approaches.
Our work in Ketton and Tinwell, is an attempt to see if our Partnership with the Beat Officer and Parish Council, plus better focused publicity and wider engagement through consultation, leads to more effective volunteer participation.
Change is natural, but if we cannot find a solution to falling resident participation, our organisation will change dramatically.
Finally, may I on behalf of the Board, ask you or colleagues to consider volunteering for the Board. We currently carry vacancies, which will increase this year with the ‘retirement’ of Alastair McCrindle, an accountant by profession, he served over 20 years, both locally and nationally with NHW as Treasurer. His financial experience and breadth of view on all matters NHW will be much missed.
Thanks to you all, for your help in the last year.
Registered Number: 6878787
In England and Wales
Charity Registration Number: 1131008