This is a message for all Watch Members and Key Individuals living within Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland from Leicestershire Constabulary.
Police Volunteer and Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Marion Lewis has been made a member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
She said: “It is a great privilege to have received such an honour as there are so many other individuals who work hard within the Neighbourhood Watch movement.
“I could not have achieved this without the support of other agencies, especially Leicestershire Constabulary who have fully supported me in all my work at local, regional and national level in furthering the aims of the Neighbourhood Watch movement.”
Marion moved to Market Harborough in 1977. She became a Neighbourhood Watch scheme co-ordinator in 1986, and in 1998 she was elected chair of Market Harborough Neighbourhood Watch. She has helped raise more than £100,000 to fund various projects including launching Countryside Watch, School Watch, the ‘Chill Out Zone’ website for young people, and the Harborough Be Safe scheme to help the elderly and vulnerable in south Leicestershire.
The Harborough Be Safe team help the elderly, the vulnerable and victims of crime by providing a free-of charge service to improve home security, as well as providing one-to-one support on security and crime prevention matters. An essential factor in the scheme's success has been its volunteers, who spend time to talk with each victim, offering the advice and reassurance that enables them to feel confident, more secure and therefore less likely to become a repeat victim. The team often make visits late into the evenings and at weekends - with very little notice - to respond to the needs of victims and vulnerable residents in the area. The team have provided support to more than 1500 homes since the scheme was formed in 2002.
Harborough Be Safe has now expanded and created a sister service – HOWSafe. This is a scheme covering both the Harborough and the Oadby and Wigston district which can assist in upgrading the security of the homes of victims of domestic abuse.
Marion became secretary of the first county-wide Neighbourhood Watch association in 2006. She represents the organisation on Leicestershire & Rutland Crimestoppers. In March 2007 Marion was elected chair of the East Midlands Neighbourhood Watch Forum, and was subsequently elected as the inaugural chair of the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network (NHWN) for England and Wales in July 2007.
Leicestershire Constabulary has supported the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network over the past three years by providing it with an office at Harborough Police Station.
NHWN is now an independent charity and Marion has been elected chair of the charity’s trustees, and with Home Office support has relocated to new offices in Leicester, at the Beaumont Enterprise Centre.
Bob Scott, Leicestershire Constabulary’s officer for Neighbourhood Watch issues, said: “This award for her service to community safety is a well deserved acknowledgement of the voluntary commitment in time and effort that Marion has dedicated to developing the role of Neighbourhood Watch on a local, regional and national level.”
Henry Whatley (7729)
Community Initiatives Coordinator
Harborough & Lutterworth Police