We are delighted that in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020 Derek Pratt has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), for services to Crime Prevention and Public Safety. He is a Neighbourhood Watch right hand, he has assisted in bringing unity to so many partnerships across Sussex, he is resilient, hardworking and well respected by all who meet him.

As a volunteer Derek is the Deputy Chair and Secretary of the Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation, Deputy Chair and Secretary of Crawley Neighbourhood Watch Association, and Chair of the Sussex Community Search Team, where he is also a Team Leader. Until recently he was also a Trustee and the Secretary of the Neighbourhood Watch Network, which covers England and Wales. Derek is also a Police Service Volunteer with Sussex Police.

Derek worked for a major British insurer for many years, and for 25 of those years he lived in various places in Asia and the Middle East, including senior Management roles, becoming very familiar with the practical aspects of criminality, security and safety, as well as running a successful business. He is a Fellow of The Chartered Insurance Institute, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, recently renamed The Chartered Governance Institute, and a Fellow of the Australian & New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance.

The Sussex Community Search Team was created in 2015 to replace the three Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Search Teams. Search Team members have been specially trained and vetted to systematically search for missing persons and associated property to the very high standards expected of police forces. The Team can field up to 135 trained searchers to support the police as and when needed. In 2014 the NW Search Teams were honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This year, in addition to its usual activities, the Team has carried out 14 safety sweeps of public places, to help ensure that these are safe places to visit.

Derek is also one of the Administrators of the Neighbourhood Alert software used by Neighbourhood Watch and 25 police forces across England and Wales. The small team he leads in Sussex looks after the data of well over 26,000 users locally, including nearly 4,000 Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators and 3,550 Neighbourhood Watch schemes. At the start of the COVID-19 lockdown the system successfully delivered nationally over 11 million key messages a month, most of which are further propagated by social media, media agencies and third party community Apps.