Opinion: A look at the issues of today

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 February 2019

Comedian and broadcaster Steve Allen.

Comedian and broadcaster Steve Allen.


Don't upset the Neighbourhood Watch

Someone has upset the Neighbourhood Watch. It wasn’t me. They haven’t spotted what I have been up to yet.

It was comedian David Mitchell who wrote a newspaper column saying that the Neighbour Watch are only useful for spotting low-level crime. He said they’d only catch a mafia boss ‘if he plays music too loud at Christmas party’.

I for one am going to defend the Neighbour Watch. If a mafia boss is playing music too loud at a Christmas party I’m glad they’re going to say something because I wouldn’t. You’ll wake up with a horses head in the wrong recycling box outside your house.

The Neighbourhood Watch chief executive – yep, they have one – John Hayward-Cripps has hit back saying Watch toolkits ‘tackle human trafficking and terrorism’.

Yeah, if it wasn’t for Navy Seal Team 6 it would have been the Watch that got Bin Laden.

It has a reputation for being an excuse to curtain twitch, to make people feel better for being nosy, but John says that’s “lazy stereotyping” of his 2.3 million members. And he should know. If anyone if an expert at lazy stereotyping, it’s someone who thinks they can judge what other people are up to.

It’s hard to know if it works. When I see those This is a Neighbourhood Watch Area signs I always think to myself, “I’d love to nick that.” But I never have, so maybe there’s something in this.

One way to measure its success. Since starting a Neighbourhood Watch have you noticed more suspicious behaviour?

I have. A lot of people on my street spend all stood by the windows, looking out and making notes. I’m not sure if they’re waiting for a secret delivery or a visit from someone dodgy but it’s all very suspicious if you ask me.

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