Neighbourhood Watch revived
POLICE and community members from Kg Sungai Liang on Thursday night took the first formal step towards reactivating its Neighbourhood Watch programme when they participated in a joint operation at several locations throughout the village.
Another village, Kampung Kapok is also expected to launch its Neighbourhood Watch programme next year, its village chief said.
Deputy Chairperson of Kg Sg Liang Village Consultative Council Hj Mohd Ibrahim Dato Maharaja Setia Dian, who was one of 12 participating community members, said the village’s Neighbourhood Watch had been long anticipating such an event, having been dormant since its formation 10 years ago.
“Although there has been no official arrangement yet on how we will proceed with this reactivation, this is the first step towards the return of the Neighbourhood Watch,” said Hj Mohd Ibrahim. “While crime in this area is not rampant and the villagers have not expressed concern but to maintain law and order, the police are working with the watch.”
Kg Sg Liang Neighourhood Watch Chairperson Hj Bujang Hj Matnor told The Brunei Times that one of the first concerns for them would be to recruit new members to the cause, having seen their numbers drop to its current 24 from 43 in 2004.
It is understood that this is mainly due to age and relocation of the original members.
“Coming plans, Insyallah, are to extend this to the future generation… we will be on the lookout for new talents, particularly those who want to be leaders and guardians (of the village)… anyone interested should contact us directly at any time,” Hj Bujang said, adding that voluntary membership was open to anyone who was fit, willing and able.
Asked if past criminal history would affect an application, the chairperson said police would not interfere in the selection, noting that reformed criminals were likely to add value to the watch because of their past involvement in crime.
Heading the operation from the police, Officer-in-Charge of Sg Liang Station, (OCS) Chief Inspector Burhan Abang, said there would be a series of strategic planning with the community following the night's operation.
“The objective tonight is to increase awareness of crime prevention. Secondly, to get the community involved in community policing through the Neighbourhood Watch," he said.
He added that the value of the locals to the police was unique because of their intimate familiarity with the community, and revealed plans to improve the way the community shared information or intelligence with the police in future.
“There will be a series of trainings from the community itself on how to assist police in getting information and then the powers of the public in making arrests. The law states the power of arrest by the public, by the citizen. This is something that we anticipate in the near future.
“Basically we are trying to develop this neighbourhood watch. It will not only involve people in the kampung but also the public sector, the government and the community,” said the chief inspector.
The operation began with a briefing at the Sg Liang Police Station at 9.30pm. Led by more than 20 police officers, 12 members of the Neighbourhood Watch assisted at two roadblocks, patrols and routine stop-and-searches from 11pm to 1am Friday. No arrests were recorded.
Meanwhile in Kampung Kapok, Hj Marali Hj Ahmad said the village has already chosen members of its Neighbourhood Watch programme.
Around 20 names have been submitted to the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) last month to be officially recognised as members of the community watch, he said.
The village chief was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting among the newly-assembled Kapok Neighbourhood Watch programme members to discuss ways of keeping their community safe.
The Brunei Times