Controversy over 24/7 Safer Neighbourhoods Policing Trial
Opposition claim scheme means fewer police for central Hammersmith
A row has broken out over plans to introduce a new team of police officers to town centres in the Borough. The opposition are claiming that due to lack of planning the move will require a reduction of policing in Hammersmith with resources being transferred to Shepherd's Bush and Fulham.
A team of more than 30 hand-picked beat officers will start patrolling the streets of Fulham Broadway and Shepherd's Bush Green providing high visibility policing to clamp down on anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder.
The new team will be unveiled this Saturday 24 March at a Crime Summit in Hammersmith Town Hall.
However, Cllr. Stephen Cowan, leader of the local Labour Group says that the move requires 25% of the policing resources of central Hammersmith to be transferred to support the new scheme. He said that Hammersmith Broadway has the highest rates of crime in the borough and the previous Labour Administration had introduced the twelve strong force to tackle the many problems in the area. Last month, Hammersmith Today reported the Conservative Administration had voted down Labour’s plans to give the five wards with the highest crime 24/7 Police Task Squads. Hammersmith Broadway ward runs along the river, from the Fulham Palace Road, up Hammersmith Grove and covers Kings Street and most of Brackenbury Village.
The decision to cut police in Hammersmith follows allegations of chaos from the Labour opposition who claimed that the Council had failed to undertake any detailed planning around their new policing scheme, with objectives, success criteria and financial future all still to be agreed.
On the other hand, local resident Toni Raybould, aged 73, said “I’m the coordinator of the Neighbourhood Watch for the area. I feel very let down by this new Council. They said they’d give us more police prior to the election, not 25% less which is what we now have. Sgt Goulden and his team are really effective. They have closed down crack houses, got to know local people so they pick up what’s happening in the area and last year robberies fell by 33%. I think most people will be outraged when they find out.
Ward Councillor Stephen Cowan added, “All research shows that there is correlation between increasing police numbers and reducing crime. The ratio of success can be further improved with proper planning. The opposite is also true and crime rises if police numbers are cut. The Tories have described their own plans as a bit of a “gamble” and a “test”. It hardly inspires confidence. This policing cut is the complete opposite to what the Conservatives said they would do prior to the elections last May.
March 23, 2007