I don’t know if Neighbourhood
Watch exists in other countries or if it is just a UK group.
Back in early 2013 the local Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator called at my house to have a good grumble about how having students renting a property attracts crime to an area. I was cooking tea at the time so I just took his literature and didn’t think too much about it.
A few months later a new Co-Ordinator called round and like a good hostess I invited him in for a coffee. After a few minutes he asked, "I really need to speak to the owners about my concerns". According to his records Mum and Dad live elsewhere and I was just some random student living in the house. I explained the true situation – that I had inherited the house when Mum and Dad were killed - but I don't think he believed me for a minute! H claimed his records were very reliable.
Fast forward another few months. One Friday I found a note had been put through the door while all four of us were out. The note was in rather flowery and old-fashioned language but the message was clear. I was to make myself available to meet with him the next day at 10AM, or else! I tried to give him the benefit of every possible doubt about what he had written but even after doing that the note left me feeling angry. It was obvious that he thought I was some irresponsible student playing some stupid game with him. He seemed to think that I was lying about Mum and Dad and about owning the house.
Saturday 10AM came, but he didn’t. Saturday 11AM came, but he didn’t. He finally arrived 80 minutes late. He was quite frosty with me from the start and almost the first thing he said was, “I don’t want to seem difficult but I really do need to speak to your parents rather than to you.”
I explained again that the house was mine but he didn’t accept that. Next, although it wasn’t any business of his, I explained how the house came to be mine. But he still didn’t believe me so in the end I had to show the stupid man their death certificates and the massive file of financial and legal papers. It seemed like the only way of getting rid of him.
Finally he accepted that the house was mine. I waited for his grovelling apology but no, he then started having a good grumble about students. And then I lost my temper! I now know what they mean when they talk about a “red mist descending”.
Not long afterwards I saw there was a Police-Community Forum meeting just down the road so I went along. And who should be there but a senior person from Neighbourhood Watch! So I asked her about what had happened to me and she promised to "look into it". But the audience were not satisfied and people kept asking her more questions and she got more and more flustered. Even the Community Policeman joined in against her.
I now know that Neighbourhood Watch people have "no statutory right of access" to my house and I am under no obligation to provide them with any information unless I chose to do so. She has now got to go back to her people to remind them about how the scheme is supposed to work. It was brilliant!
Is it all sorted out now? Actually it isn’t because I have had another note put through the door from yet another new co-ordinator. So the whole cycle is starting again!