Ocean View Neighbourhood Watch members have been honoured for their commitment.The annual Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) Awards took place last Monday and saw the local crime fighters receiving a bronze award for operational commitment.The award is given to teams who show “exceptional and sustained operational commitment in partnership with state safety, security and emergency services”.The bronze category award winners were selected by Community Safety MEC, Dan Plato, and the Ministerial Outreach Projects team, within the Safety Promotion and Partnerships programme of the Department of Community Safety. The considerations and selections were based on the team’s first-hand engagements in communities, as well as consultations with other stakeholders where applicable, for each award of distinction within the bronze category. The bronze awards aim to recognise the valiant efforts of NHW structures, inclusive of Walking Bus structures, which do not go unnoticed, and seeks to motivate members to continue improving safety in their communities, explains Plato’s spokesperson, Ewald Botha.“Ocean View was selected as one of the two recipients of the bronze award for operational commitment due to their particularly close working relationship with the police and City Law Enforcement in the area, after consultation by the relevant officials with the safety structures concerned.” The awards were the first under the new provincial government and City of Cape Town partnership, aimed at showing appreciation to NHWs and their members.The awards saw more than 80 NHW structures and members nominated for one of the 34 available awards. Awards were split into three broad categories to recognise and celebrate teams of distinction (bronze awards), individual excellence (silver awards) and outstanding achievement (gold awards).Mayco member for safety, security and social development, JP Smith, thanked the NHW members for their dedicated community service.“What we are seeing is a community-led initiative around community policing. With as many as 20 000 trained NHW members in the City and probably closer to 50 000 NHW volunteers in some form or another active in our communities, you are at the forefront to improve safety in our communities and often teach both the City and police valuable lessons in community intelligence-led policing.“Our partnerships with each other, including the Western Cape Government, keep on growing and we will keep trying to find new ways of supporting our valued NHWs. Our job must be to roll the obstacles out of your way for you to continue to grow in service of your community and for us to support you through that.”Plato emphasised that NHWs form a crucial part in the united front against crime.“We are looking to accredit another 100 NHW structures in the year to come and are setting aside more than R2.5m for training and equipping our NHW structures in the province.”Included in the prizes the winners received were extra equipment for members to use in their duties – such as first aid kits, torches, floodlights and two-way radios – as well as fun excursions donated by partnering institutions.