Derek Pratt, Deputy Chair for Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Association

Derek got involved in Neighbourhood Watch as a street co-ordinator in the early 2000s, and quickly found himself being asked to join the Committee of Crawley NW, then to become its Deputy Chair, and then to become the Deputy Chair for Sussex. He also joined the then Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Search Teams, which have since transformed into the Sussex Community Search Team, which he now Chairs. He is also a vetted Police Service Volunteer.

Derek told us, “For me Neighbourhood Watch is a way of volunteering and giving back to the community and using my skills and experience for the common good.

In Sussex we were about to start developing a new IT system to deliver NW, but then we discovered that Alert was ahead of us, so we abandoned our plans and supported Alert. When Sussex and Surrey Police went live on Alert in April 2016, we suddenly found ourselves entrusted with a mass of valuable data, which unfortunately in many cases seemed out of date. We had the most capability of cleansing this data, so our panel of MSAs and other volunteers took on the task. Every one of our over 4,000 approved co-ordinators is now on Alert and security checked, and nearly all of over 3,500 schemes are mapped. Data has been cleansed so that all but a handful of our over 26,000 users can receive messages from the panel of Information Providers.”

Derek is multi-skilled, having worked in the insurance industry for 30 years and spent 25 of those years living in Asia and the Middle East, mainly working at Management and Executive levels for a major British insurer, including Underwriting and Claims Management, Marketing and systems, where crime prevention, safety, risk management and very high performance standards are an integral part of the challenge. Since then he spent about 3 years with a software developer before joining the family property investment business, which he now Chairs. He is a Chartered Insurance Practitioner and also a Chartered Secretary.

He added: “Maybe I am a little unusual because whilst I have been trained how to run a major strategic business operation, and proved that I can do it, I also am very happy to get stuck into the nitty gritty and get my hands dirty on the details, so to speak. Taking pride in helping to keep a database and related software free of errors is quite therapeutic. I also enjoy contributing to the development of new ideas, including Alert V4, to help make them relevant, user friendly and truly fit for purpose.”

< Back to MSA stories