Watch schemes | Suffolk Constabulary

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Watch schemes

There are watch schemes in operation across Suffolk, in urban and rural areas, bringing local people and the police together in an effective partnership to keep their communities safe.

You can find out more about each of the watch schemes below.

Community SpeedWatch

Suffolk Police are committed to working with Roadsafe partners to achieve casualty reduction targets, and “reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads” The police aim to provide the right level of reassurance and enforcement. But officers cannot carry out speed enforcement checks in every community that wants them on a regular basis. This is where working together can help. We need to enhance our existing methods and want to include the community by recruiting volunteers to be part of our Community Speed Watch initiative.

How it works:

  • Trained volunteers verify and record the registration numbers of offending vehicles.
  • These details are forwarded to Suffolk Police who will send offenders a letter.
  • A maximum of two letters will be sent to offenders.
  • Persistent offenders may be targeted for police enforcement.
  • Follow-up work on education and enforcement by Suffolk Police and our partners will also take place as appropriate.

Scheme summary:

  • There must be a minimum of six volunteers in each CSW scheme.
  • Speedchecks must be conducted by at least two volunteers if experienced but three is the preferred minimum.
  • Volunteers must be over 18 years of age.
  • Each CSW scheme must have a co-ordinator and where possible, a
  • deputy, responsible for the equipment and administration.
  • The Parish (or local) Council must support the scheme.
  • Volunteers will be required to sign a CSW agreement.
  • The locations for monitoring are chosen by the scheme, however risk assessments will be carried out by a trained member of staff, who will approve the nearest safe site. In some circumstances a site may not be deemed safe enough to conduct CSW.
  • Training for volunteers will include use of the equipment, and health and safety issues.
  • The cost of training volunteers, risk assessing potential sites, and ongoing administration is borne by Suffolk Police.
  • Speed detection equipment is provided by the Constabulary.
  • Volunteers will be covered by the Constabulary's insurance, although parishes are advised to notify their insurer of their CSW scheme.

For information on CSW or any other volunteering opportunities with Suffolk Police please contact: [email protected]


Shop Watch

Shop Watch reduces and prevents crime and anti-social behaviour, helping to create a safer and more secure community by gathering, exchanging and managing information relating to retail crime.

There are several Shop Watch schemes in Suffolk, primarily in Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Ipswich and Felixstowe.

Security tools, such as CCTV and radios, are used to share information amongst scheme members.

Shop Watch aims to:

  • prevent crime
  • detect people carrying out crime
  • reduce the fear of crime
  • build closer relationships between retailers and the police.

For more information about starting a scheme or being a member of an existing scheme, contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team.

Farm Watch

Farm Watch helps people and businesses in rural areas to combat farm-related crime.

Suffolk Police works closely with farmers, warning them about the latest crime trends and what to look out for.

The main aims of Farm Watch are to:

  • Reduce the opportunity for crime by encouraging co-operation between the farming communities and the police.
  • Offer crime reduction advice to improve security of main farm building and surrounding areas.
  • Make farmers aware of the possibilities of crime that could occur within their area.
  • Create a fast and effective method of sharing information between scheme members and the police with Police Connect.
  • Provide advice to farmers with regard to the secure storage of chemicals and suspicious vehicles that may be stored in unused farm buildings.
  • Reduce the fear of crime in the farming community.

Farms are encouraged to participate in the Police Connect communication network. This provides a contact point so farmers or their staff can be notified immediately if there is any information which may affect the security of their land, buildings, equipment or animals. The scheme is free and you can complete the application form online to join. We also offer a step-by-step guide on how to register.

Church Watch

Suffolk Church Watch enables the police to work effectively with custodians of religious buildings.

The Church Watch Scheme aims to keep Suffolk’s churches and religious establishments safe and free from crime.

If you represent a Suffolk church or religious building and would like information relating to your area of interest, you can join Police Connect free of charge and receive messages by text, voicemail or email.  

You can also get advice about rural safety or you can contact a specialist Rural Crime Officer for advice on 101.

Neighbourhood Watch

Neighbourhood Watch is about people getting together with their neighbours to help combat local crime.

Suffolk Neighbourhood Watch scheme helps to make our neighbourhoods more secure and our communities feel safer.

The main objectives of Neighbourhood Watch are to:

  • prevent and reduce crime in our neighbourhoods
  • provide reassurance to people in our communities
  • provide practical and up-to-date crime reduction advice
  • encourage members of our communities to be alert and watchful in looking after themselves and others
  • act as a channel of communication by passing on information from the police to the community and from the community to the police.

The Suffolk Neighbourhood Watch Association (SNWA) can give you details on how to join an existing scheme or help set up a new one if there isn't one in your area.