Someone has upset the neighbourhood watch, writes Steve N Allen, star of BBC2 comedy The Mash Report.
It wasn’t me – they haven’t spotted what I have been up to yet.
It was comedian David Mitchell who wrote a newspaper column saying that the neighbourhood watch is only useful for spotting low-level crime.
He said they’d only catch a mafia boss ‘if he plays music too loud at Christmas party’.
I, for one, am going to defend the neighbourhood watch.
If a mafia boss is playing music too loud at a Christmas party I’m glad they’re going to say something because I wouldn’t.
If I did, I’d wake up with a horse’s head in the wrong recycling box outside my house.
The neighbourhood watch chief executive – yes, they have one – John Hayward-Cripps, has hit back saying watch toolkits ‘tackle human trafficking and terrorism’.
Yeah, if it wasn’t for Navy Seal Team Six, it would have been the watch that got Bin Laden.
It has a reputation for being an excuse to curtain twitch, to make people feel better for being nosy, but Mr Hayward-Cripps says that’s ‘lazy stereotyping’ of his 2.3 million members.
And he should know.
If anyone if an expert at lazy stereotyping, it’s someone who thinks they can judge what other people are up to.
It’s hard to know if it works.
When I see those ‘This is a Neighbourhood Watch Area’ signs I always think to myself, ‘I’d love to nick that.’
But I never have, so maybe there’s something in this.
One way to measure its success is to ask whether, since starting a neighbourhood watch, have you noticed more suspicious behaviour?
A lot of people on my street spend all day stood by the windows, looking out and making notes.
I’m not sure if they’re waiting for a secret delivery or a visit from someone dodgy, but it’s all very suspicious if you ask me.