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Gazette Article

Neighbourhood Watch goes social

NSW Police is replacing Neighbourhood Watch with Project Eyewatch, which has been trialled in Local Area Commands (LACs) to enable them and their communities exchange information using police co-ordinated Facebook homepages.

Pilot programs have been operating in the Tweed/Byron, Griffith, Orana, Quakers Hill, Newcastle, Sutherland, Cabramatta, Barrier, Parramatta and Campbelltown LACs.

Police commissioner Andrew Scipione says the initiative is a promising, modern version of Neighbourhood Watch. Project sponsor, deputy commissioner – specialist operations, Dave Owens, says police staff from the trial LACs and precinct co-ordinators have been trained on how to run an online group.

Police co-ordinator, superintendent Stuart Smith says local area commanders, crime prevention officers, civilian police staff, Neighbourhood Watch facilitators, volunteers in policing (VIPs), business leaders and community groups were all involved in the trial.

The formation of precincts will vary between LACs, based on need and community demand. Anyone in the community can ask to join a precinct closed group via Facebook or over the phone. Police will conduct an inquiry and risk assessment of each applicant to find out if they are suitable to ensure closed groups are not infiltrated by undesirable persons. On completion, the applicant can join the group and be added by the precinct co-ordinator or the Police Co-ordinator. Facebook pages are monitored by commanders, duty officers and staff from LAC crime management units.

by Eva Wiland, Gazette editor

Courtesy of Gazette February 2012
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