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New research reveals one in three Britons fear they will become a victim of crime over the next 12 months. When ask...
New research reveals one in three Britons fear they will become a victim of crime over the next 12 months. When asked about becoming involved in crime prevention activities, a record one in two said that they would regularly forgo an evening at the pub or in front of the TV to help fight crime*.

The survey, jointly commissioned by CGU Insurance and the National Neighbourhood Watch Association (NNWA) further reveals:

- 1 in 7 are currently involved in community action to prevent crime

- 1 in 2 believe working with young people to keep them away from crime is the way forward

- 18-24 year olds are the age group most likely to volunteer 8-10 hours a month towards community activities that could reduce crime in their area by 30%

In response to these new findings CGU Insurance and the NNWA are launching one of the UK's most ambitious crime reduction training programmes to date. The£300,000 initiative, known as CGU Neighbourhood Crime Check, ultimately aims to equip around 3,000 nominated community champions with the skills and expertise to build crime-beating neighbourhoods. They in turn will be encouraged to cascade this knowledge to as many as 10 people within their own community, reaching over 20,000 people.

NNWA chief executive Sue Yoxall MBE welcomes the training for community champions: 'Many members of Neighbourhood Watch are already acting as local champions in their own street, estate or village. CGU Neighbourhood Crime Check will give them the skills and knowledge to take their activism to a new level and draw in more people and resources around them.'

The crime prevention field has recognised that the community is a key partner in reducing crime and that this initiative makes a valuable contribution by empowering local people. It has been endorsed by ACPO, the Police Federation and Chief Superintendents' Association; Local Government Association and the Home Office.

Charles Clarke, minister of state for home affairs, says 'Neighbourhood Watchers and other community champions have a key role to play in supporting the joined-up initiatives being developed by the police and local authorities to reduce crime. Local crime reduction partnerships must involve all sections of the community and Neighbourhood Watchers can make an invaluable contribution to identifying local crime problems and offering effective solutions. I welcome the CGU Neighbourhood Crime Check initiative as it provides these local community champions with the skills and knowledge to make positive changes in their community'.

The initiative has also gained support from celebrities such as actor, Billy Murray, aka DS Don Beech and Samantha Robson, aka WPC Vicky Hagen from TV police drama, The Bill. Billy, who strongly believes in the values of neighbourhood watch schemes comments, 'Tackling crime isn't just about police intervention. It's about ordinary people taking responsibility within their communities. Crime cannot flourish in a neighbourhood that cares, which is why CGU Neighbourhood Crime Check is a powerful yet simple way to start making a difference'.

'CGU insurance is proud to be the leading supporter of Neighbourhood Watch and a major supporter of crime prevention, both at national and local levels. As a company we clearly recognise Neighbourhood Watch's power for good and its role in risk and crime prevention. Neighbourhood Crime Check will train community champions in the fight against crime and cascade this knowledge to many others. The process will hopefully stimulate those willing to get involved in community safety to take positive steps to build a safer Britain,' says Cees Schrauwers, managing director, CGU Insurance.

The first CGU Neighbourhood Crime Check training seminar takes place in Nottingham tomorrow, with a further 15 scheduled throughout England, Scotland and Wales over the next six months.


*Opinion Research Business - The Fear of Crime and How The British Public Want to Tackle It. National sample of 1003 population. 11-12 September 1999.

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