The inaugural Neighbourhood Watch International Conference on crime prevention and community safety has proved to be an unprecedented success.
Held at the Sea World Resort Conference Centre on 21-22 May, the Neighbourhood Watch International Conference brought the public together with Neighbourhood Watch representatives, police, government officials, and other specialist organisations from Australia, NZ, the US, and UK for the first time.
It was attended by 90 delegates, along with another 90 virtual attendees from virtual hubs set up in New Zealand and Western Australia, as well as USA and UK for the event.
“We are thrilled by the number of attendees, and engagement that we had with the conference program,” Neighbourhood Watch Australasia CEO, Maria Bennett said.
“The idea of Neighbourhood Watch is all about connected communities working together to reduce crime in their local areas, and to increase reporting to police. During these uncertain times, both domestically and internationally, an effective Neighbourhood Watch program has never been more important for community engagement and inclusion.”
Neighbourhood Watch Australasia Chair, Bernie Durkin added, “We had a number of contingency plans in place for delegates and speakers, considering all the COVID-19 complications over the last 12 months. Nonetheless, the conference was nothing short of a major success on all fronts, with international speakers and delegates able to attend virtually.”
The program for the conference included a crime prevention forum hosted by QLD Police Service Commissioner, Katarina Carroll; ACT Chief Police Officer, Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan; UQ Program Director, Professor Lorraine Mazerolle; and Bernie Durkin, Chair of Neighbourhood Watch Australasia.
Delegates also attended keynote speeches by technical experts, law enforcement agencies, government bodies, and academic specialists on the effectiveness of Neighbourhood Watch programs, policing with influence, and strategies to prevent crime and victimisation.
Notable guest speakers included AFP and ACCCE Commander Hilda Sirec; NZ Police Manager Dr Melissa Smith; UQ Lecturer in Criminology Dr Renee Zahnow; Executive Director of the National Association of Town Watch USA Matt Peskin; VIC Police Leading Senior Constable Joe Clark; SA Police Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator Sergeant Philip Gurr; Youth Justice Report Special Advisor, Robert Atkinson AO APM; Neighbourhood Support NZ CEO Tess Casey; QLD Police Inspector Corey Allen; John Hayward-Cripps from Neighbourhood Watch Network UK; and QLD Police Sergeant Nadine Webster APM.
Other notable delegates included Director of Queensland Corrective Service Superintendent Mark Plath; His Worship Cr Mayor Tom Tate; Minister for Home Affairs Hon Karen Andrews MP; and Hon Mark Ryan, QLD Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services.
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