The existence of the Adur Neighbourhood Watch is under threat after the committee unanimously decided to stand down.
The retiring committee, which covers Shoreham, Southwick, Fishersgate, Sompting and Lancing, hopes that members of the community will fill the newly vacant roles, said chairman Pam Davey.
“If no one comes forward, there is a real possibility it will have to fold,” she said.
Mrs Davey, who lives in Lancing, has been involved in Neighbourhood Watch since 1986.
She got involved with the watch in the Adur area in 1996 and, except for a five year period in which she was paid, has volunteered her free time for the role.
“That’s how passionate I was,” she said, “And I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
However, due to a series of changes in the way that information is released by the police, she has decided to stand down, a move which prompted the rest of the committee to follow suit.
“I have absolutely enjoyed it,” said Mrs Davey of her experience in the committee, “I really am sad to be going.
“But I have made my decision and I’m not going to change my mind.”
The retiring committee consists of eight members who will need to be replaced – the chairman, a vice-chairman for Lancing and Sompting, a vice-chairman for Shoreham, Southwick and Fishersgate, treasurer, secretary and three other committee members.
The committee meets four times a year and, up until recently, distributed a monthly newsletter which has now been discontinued.
“It’s not an onerous job,” said Mrs Davey, “It really doesn’t take up too much time.”
However, she said it was vital to the community.
“It does help protect our most vulnerable people.
“There are many elderly people who aren’t on email and don’t have computers. They need neighbours to be aware, to know that someone is looking out for them,” she said.
Chief Inspector Howard Hodges said: “Neighbourhood Watch groups play an important role in preventing and detecting crime, and providing public reassurance in their communities across Sussex.
“We support a number of Neighbourhood Watch groups throughout Sussex. Although policing is continually evolving, these groups represent strong and active communities in deterring crime and protecting the communities and people they represent.
“I am confident that Adur district will continue to have a strong and resilient Neighbourhood Watch, and we will do all that we can to support this process.
“I would urge anyone with an interest in their community to consider becoming a committee member for their local Neighbourhood Watch group.”
The committee will hold a meeting on Tuesday, November 1 at 2pm in the South Hall of Lancing Parish Hall, where Mrs Davey hopes a handover will take place.
She urges anyone interested in standing to inform her as soon as possible.
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