Wednesday September 26, 2012
Members of more than 70 Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) schemes from across the borough attended a ceremony at Hammersmith Town Hall (Tuesday, September 18).
And a woman who twice helped the police to apprehend shoplifters from the Westfield Shopping Centre picked up an award as this year’s outstanding NHW volunteer.
The NHW Annual General Meeting celebrates the achievements of the 196 ‘Watch’ organisations in Hammersmith & Fulham, which cover an incredible 266 streets.
Viv James, an NHW member and key member of the Shepherds Bush ward panel walked off with the coveted Douglas Hurd Cup, which is awarded annually every year to an outstanding NHW volunteer.
The annual award was named after borough resident and former Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary Lord Hurd, who founded Neighbourhood Watch in 1983. The peer is also patron of the Hammersmith & Fulham Neighbourhood Watch Association which is chaired by local resident David Millar.
Earlier this year, Viv noticed two women travelling to and from Westfield to a car that was parked close to her home.
She rang the police with descriptions of the individuals and their vehicles. Officers attended the scene as one of the suspects returned to the vehicle. An arrest was made, during which the suspect assaulted one of the police officers.
The suspect had stolen goods to the value of £172 on her person, with a further £6,000 worth of goods in the vehicle. After enquiries carried out with retailers in Westfield the suspect was convicted of three counts of theft, four of handling stolen goods and one offence of assault. They were both given a 28 days suspended prison sentence.
In May 2012 Viv spotted further similar suspicious activity which she reported to the police. The suspect was apprehended and was found to be in possession of £3,500 worth of stolen goods. She was given a one year suspended sentence of 20 weeks imprisonment and told to do 100 hours unpaid work.
The Douglas Hurd Cup was presented to Viv by the Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham, Cllr Belinda Donovan.
Borough Commander, Chief Superintendant Lucy D’Orsi attended the event and gave a overview of crime in the borough and steps being taken by the police to combat it.
She said: “Viv exemplifies the ethos that Neighbourhood Watch Members are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community and she is truly deserving of this award. There has been an overall reduction in crime this year and it is wonderful to see Viv and so many other residents devoting their time to work with us to reduce crime.”
Cllr Greg Smith, deputy leader of H&F Council, said: “Analysis proves that areas with high concentrations of Neighbourhood Watch groups have less crime and fewer burglaries than areas without. I would like to congratulate Viv and all our Neighbourhood Watch volunteers for their sterling work.”