PLANS to share information on crime trends and prevention methods are being increased thanks to a a £10,500 grant.

Essex police, fire and crime commissioner Roger Hirst supports Neighbourhood Watch with the annual boost as well as £500 for their yearly conference.

There are 14 Neighbourhood Watch groups across Essex with 100,000 members in total.

Chairman of the Essex County Neighbourhood Watch Association Clive Stewart said: "We do a good job by reducing the opportunity of crime and reducing the fear of crime.

“This money enables our districts to invest in things like purse bells for the community, to hire village halls for events, or to purchase cards for vulnerable residents to show unknown visitors through their window to ask them to contact someone they know - it all costs money.

"But, it makes a difference as it shows people Neighbourhood Watch is there to give out information and support.

"It raises our profile among the public.

"That’s where this money makes a difference to us.

“This financial support also gives us the credibility of having Roger Hirst behind us.

“I have a great team who work really hard to get Neighbourhood Watch out there.”

Mr Hirst said: “Neighbourhood Watch do a very important job in communities throughout Essex working with the police they help provide intelligence to officers, support the elderly and vulnerable and go out of their way to make their local area safer.

“Just knowing Neighbourhood Watch are active in an area can play a large part in preventing crime for happening in the first place.

"The volunteers make a significant contribution to catching criminals and creating safe and secure communities.”