Neighbourhood Watch

30 November 2016

Mr SPEIRS ( Bright ) ( 15:20 ): It is with great pleasure that I speak today on the work of the Seacliff Park Neighbourhood Watch.  

Last night, 29 November 2016, I had the privilege of attending the 25th anniversary of this Neighbourhood Watch held at the All Saints' Anglican Church in Lamington Avenue, Seacliff Park. Last night's meeting was an opportunity to look back on the group's quarter of a century of service to the local community and to celebrate particular figures within the Neighbourhood Watch who have provided an exceptional level of contribution during that time.

Since the group was founded, there have been five area coordinators, with Harry Priest, Jeremy Johnson, Tony Sullivan, Joan Pike and Paul Sutcliffe serving in that role. Paul Sutcliffe is the current coordinator and also serves Watch SA at a state level, providing input into what the organisation does statewide. Last night, I had the privilege of handing out Neighbourhood Watch 25‑year service medals to eight members of the group who have been actively involved since the beginning of the group. 

This award shows an exceptional level of commitment over many years and was provided to Jeremy Johnson, Eric and Heather Rampton, Joan Pike, Phillip Blows, Christine Solomon, Frank Williams and Ian Rogers. These locals are stalwarts not only of Neighbourhood Watch but also of the Seacliff Park community, giving of their time over a quarter of a century to organise and attend Neighbourhood Watch meetings, deliver newsletters and generally look out for the wellbeing of their suburb. Congratulations to all of them on their contribution. 

It was interesting to hear that the first police liaison officer who worked with the group when it was founded was none other than Mark Carroll, now president of both the Police Federation of Australia and the Police Federation of South Australia. Mark was a junior officer when he helped the Seacliff Park Neighbourhood Watch get off the ground, and in its 25 years there have been only three police coordinators, with John Anderson and Jason Barker following Mr Carroll. 

The Seacliff Park Neighbourhood Watch has been keeping their suburb safe for 25 years, and I want to congratulate each of its members, thank them for their valuable contribution to the community of Seacliff Park and encourage them to continue for another 25 years. Last night, long-serving Watch member Jeremy Johnson provided an impromptu reminder of the importance of community and the role of Neighbourhood Watch in building community. Mr Johnson lamented that the sense of community in the area might not be what it once was but urged those gathered to look in on their neighbours, say hello to people in the street and keep doing their bit by turning up to Neighbourhood Watch meetings and other community events. I want to reiterate Mr Johnson's words and thank him personally for that reminder last night. 

While I am on the topic of Neighbourhood Watch, I also want to take the opportunity to mention the great work of the South Brighton Neighbourhood Watch group, led ably by area coordinator John Wallace. The South Brighton group is a strong one, holding monthly meetings at the Catholic Church hall at Strathmore Terrace, Brighton. The group plays an amazing role in building a sense of community in the local area, particularly with its annual Christmas in the Square event held in Dover Square. 

This is an annual must-attend event for hundreds of residents in South Brighton. This year, Christmas in the Square was held on Friday 18 November, and with beautiful weather it was a huge success. Attendees were entertained by the police band and the Gospo. Congratulations to John Wallace and all the other members of the South Brighton Neighbourhood Watch for not only putting on Christmas in the Square each year but also for their admirable work in keeping their local community safe. 

I wish the hardworking members of both South Brighton and Seacliff Park Neighbourhood Watch groups a very merry Christmas, and I look forward to continuing to work with them in 2017. 

Extracted from Hansard