What is unique about the SAVE network?
The Safety Alert Volunteer Enterprise (SAVE) network is modest by design and broad in application. The purpose of SAVE is to empower ordinary people with safety alertness knowledge and skills to keep their community’s attention focused and aware of harmful social unrest and threats from regular and random acts of violence. Everyday harms and community unrest come in all shapes and sizes – from low level petty vandalism to personal crimes right up to extremist activities designed to provoke social unrest and possible terrorist attacks.
You are probably thinking, this sounds similar to other community volunteer agencies such as Crime Stoppers and Neighbourhood Watch. You would be both right and wrong. The SAVE network is similar to other community safety-focused agencies but it’s also uniquely difference in several ways. To appreciate SAVE’s uniqueness, let’s look at the purpose of similar community-based agencies.
Crime Stoppers (CS) “… is a community intelligence gathering service for information about suspicious or criminal activity that assists Police and other agencies to solve and prevent crime.” CS, also assists with “… special calls to action issued by the Queensland Police Service for witnesses and other information related to crimes that have taken place. In addition we work with the RSPCA for high profile animal cruelty related matters.”
Neighbourhood Watch (NW) is a not-for-profit organisation supported by State Government Police Services that “…. provide a direct link between Police and the Community to address community members’ concerns about local crime, reducing the fear of crime and improving community safety.” It carries out this purpose by encouraging greater community participation through its regional network of local District Crime Prevention Coordinators and Police Station Community Crime Reduction Officers. Volunteers attend regular group meetings and contribute to blog postings on the local community blog site.
Whereas, the SAVE network facilitates local community members – business owners, retail staff, council workers, residents, schools, and other services – to be trained in Safety Alertness protocols to become self-reliant volunteers with a level of active preparedness to deal with local community concerns based on a common set of overarching values and principles for keeping their community safe from harmful social unrest and violence.
However, the Safety Alert Volunteer Enterprise (SAVE) network is not a ‘community intelligence gathering service’ like Crime Stoppers. Although a Safety Alert Volunteer (SAV) may in the normal course of their everyday life come across information which may be of use to Crime Stoppers and the Police. Although the SAVE network does have a similar focus to Neighbourhood Watch’s mission ‘to reduce crime and enhance community safety’ where it varies is in its wider focus on community risk reduction, other than harms caused by crime alone, such as violent extremism and terrorism.
Moreover, the SAVE network functions in a distinctly different way to NW. It does not have any regular formal meetings, nor does it require active group participation. Furthermore, the SAVE organisation does not have or need a direct formal link with Police such as NW. There is no point in re-inventing the wheel when Neighbourhood Watch does a great job with its local, regional, and State-wide, police-based network.
The overriding design principle behind SAVE is that it should not have an oversight function of any community group or agency that is registered as part of the SAVE network. Community members that are trained in safety alertness knowledge and skills are free to ‘self-evolve’ in whatever form or direction they wish in accordance with being a responsible Safety Alert Volunteer (SAV).
Therefore, communities and agencies are front and centre in the driving seat over the direction they want to pursue with the knowledge and skills they have learnt from being registered as part of the SAVE network. Of course, such ‘self-direction’ is not a licence to set up a vigilante-style group to target others that you may disagree with. In the event that any individual or group acts in violation of the SAVE network’s terms and conditions to which they have formally agreed then such individuals and/or groups will be de-registered as a SAVE network member.
Moreover, the type of ‘safety alertness’ training done by the SAVE network builds on ‘situational awareness’ training but is different from it. ‘Awareness’ involves understanding a situation or subject at the present time based on information or experience. ‘Alertness’, on the other hand, is a state of active, sustained attention of high sensory awareness such as being watchful and prompt to meet danger or emergency, or being quick to perceive and act.
Hence, the aim of ‘safety alertness’ training it to instil in volunteers through practical exercises and mock scenarios this type of active watchfulness of a mind prepared and focused by relevant, up-to-date knowledge to be alert to and curious about, but not alarmed by, any anomalies, irregularities or inconsistencies they may notice as they go about their everyday lives.
In essence, a Safety Alert Volunteer is part of a unique community-wide Enterprise designed to provide safety alertness training to individuals, communities and agencies interested in being networked together for the purpose of keeping an updated ‘watchful eye’ of sustained attention on potentially harmful social unrest and threats from regular and random acts of violence.