HC Deb 12 July 2004 vol 423 cc1126-8
22. Mr. John Baron (Billericay) (Con)

If he will make a statement on his relations with the National Neighbourhood Watch Association. [183106]

Minister for Crime Reduction, Policing and Community Safety (Ms Hazel Blears)

The Home Office has worked in partnership with the National Neighbourhood Watch Association for a number of years. In 2003, the Home Office provided a grant of £350,000 to help the NNWA out with its financial difficulties. It recently came to light, however, that it has without authorisation registered the Neighbourhood Watch name and logos as its own trademarks. Those are Crown copyright and public assets, and we are taking steps to recover them into public ownership.

Mr. Baron

I thank the Minister for that response, but she will be aware of the Home Office's very recent decision not to provide interim funding support for the NNWA, while at the same time blocking its signing of a commercial sponsorship agreement. Given that recent Home Office statistics show that there were 66,000 incidents of antisocial behaviour in one day alone, does the Minister think this last-minute intervention by the Home Office acceptable—an intervention that the NNWA believes will result in its closure within weeks?

Ms Blears

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely wrong. It is not the case that the Home Office has scuppered the sponsorship deal. I want to place that on the record, along with the fact that the Home Office has supported neighbourhood watch every step of the way. We are determined that our local organisations will continue to involve local people in being the eyes and ears of the police, giving us that excellent community intelligence and doing the fantastic job that they do throughout the country.