Crime Crackdown Is "Number One Priority"

Cllr Greg Smith reaffirms Council's zero tolerance policy

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Speaking to an audience of all the major players in the fight against crime locally Cllr Smith argued that the council can do it's bit by reducing the environment for crime, but that this must also be matched by robust policing.

The early morning summit, last Thursday 14 September, was organised by the Met Police and the Peace Alliance as a way of bringing residents associations, neighbourhood watch groups, religious leaders, schools and voluntary sector organisations together to talk about combating crime locally.

"Cracking down on crime and anti-social behaviour is the number one priority for Hammersmith & Fulham Council," says Cllr Smith. "We are inspired by the 'broken windows' approach of former Mayor Giuliani and Police Commissioner windows Bill Bratton in New York City, which cut crime by over 70 per cent.

"There are two parts to this, high-visibility, 24/7 beat policing and minimising the environment for crime. Broken windows theory states if you let the so called victimless quality of life crimes - graffiti, fly-tipping, public drunkenness, youths causing havoc on mopeds, literal broken windows - go unchallenged, it creates an environment for further crime, escalating in seriousness. "

Cllr Smith highlighted zero tolerance measures recently introduced by the council like; £75
on the spot litter fines, a borough-wide controlled drinking zone and an upgraded CCTV operation.

"No longer will it be acceptable for graffiti to remain untouched for days on end. No longer will fly-tips be allowed to sit going rotten on our streets. No longer will drunks littering our parks,
street corners and communal open-spaces be tolerated."

"We have made a good start in cranking up our fight against crime but there is more to do and I want to make sure that everyone who has something to offer in this fight is able to have their say."

Cllr Smith announced that in the New Year the council will be hosting the first ever H&F Crime Summit.

Cllr Smith concludes, "The H&F Crime Summit is specifically designed to ensure we have the most robust and effective 'big tent 'response to crime, anti-social behaviour and the terrorist
threat anywhere in London."

Among others, the breakfast was also addressed by Greg Hands MP, who spoke about his experiences of living in New York City in the early 1990s when the zero tolerance approach was being implemented there.

Cllr Smith concludes, "The police and council are working together to make the borough a more pleasant place for all. We are doing our bit by reducing the environment for crime and with robust, tough local policing the anti-social minority will get the message that we're no longer a soft touch."

September 21, 2006