Clarity needed on watchgroups

Tony Cross, Somerset, SWNW Steering Committee Member

Somerset West Neighbourhood Watch (SWNW) would like to clarify the situation concerning an article that appeared in the media, relating to a new control room facility operated by Helderberg Crime Watch (HCW).

SWNW has been in discussion with HCW for some time over possible ways to increase cooperation between the two organisations. These discussions included, but were not limited to, opportunities to work together within a communication centre.

SWNW already has its own communication centre in Main Road, Somerset West, which is supported by the Community Safety Partnership (CSP).

This comprises four security companies (ADT Security, AM Security, Gordon’s Bay Security & Secure Rite Security) and three medical response companies (EMO, ER24 and Gordon’s Bay Med Rescue).

We also have radio links in place with other areas in the Helderberg, including Gordon’s Bay, Sir Lowry’s Pass and Strand, and have been chosen and approved as the facility to house the CoCT Metro Radio for coordinating additional support.

SWNW had not made any formal agreement to join forces with HCW in respect of running their new facility.

We were therefore dismayed when we discovered certain assumptions had been made, despite the fact that no written agreement was in place.

Consequently, we were surprised when it was formally announced in the article that the initiative was a joint venture with SWNW.

The new HCW initiative does not, in our view, provide the same measure of reassurance for the community that is currently offered through the SWNW Communication Centre with the CSP.

Additionally, the proposals advanced in support of the new venture threaten the independence and long-term security of SWNW.

The watch will not therefore be joining HCW in their new venture, but will continue to look for opportunities for a more effective cohesive agreement for cooperation with which to improve coordination of our collective efforts with all stakeholders including HCW.

SWNW would like to apologise for any embarrassment caused to its partners, other stakeholders and members of the community for the miscommunication that has taken place.

The public can continue to contact the SWNW Communication Centre on its normal telephone number at 021 840 0009, with non-urgent emails as always to

Thank you, for helping us to set the record straight.