Monday March 7, 2011
The Police, council, residents, businesses, charities and voluntary groups are uniting as one team to take the fight to criminals Hammersmith & Fulham.
More than 300 people flooded into Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge home on Saturday 5 March to discuss their crime concerns and thrash out solutions.
This year’s H&F Council Crime Summit was opened by Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, who revealed that his home had been burgled two weeks ago and ‘been a harsh lesson’ for his young son to learn. He vowed: “Cracking down on crime has always been a major priority for this council and remains so but we need to continue working hard together to ensure that the streets are as safe as possible.”
Under the banner ‘your priority, our goal’ this year’s summit, which was sponsored by St.George and was the fifth to be held in the borough, included four themed workshops – covering anti-social behaviour, environmental crime, drugs & alcohol and staying safe.
Derek Luckham, from Star Road, says: “I came here because the crime summit is the best place to talk face-to-face about ways to tackle the problems we are experiencing. We’ve got issues with drug-dealing and dog-fouling locally and they need to be dealt with. I also want the Police to spend less time filing out paperwork and more time patrolling the streets.”
The new Police Borough Commander Lucy D’Orsi said she was ‘intolerent of all criminals’ as it emerged that, after six years of falling crime, this year was likely to see a modest increase – partly because of the opening of Westfield Shopping Centre which has added around 2,000 crimes a year to the borough total.
However, H&F Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, Cllr Greg Smith, highlighted key successes over recent years including closing more crack houses in the 6.2 square miles of the borough than the whole of Wales put together. He also praised the work of the borough’s growing network of Neighbourhood Watch groups – which has now spiralled from just six active schemes in 2005 to 175 today covering 236 roads.
“Neighbourhood Watch is the Big Society in action,” he said. ”You are standing up for your street, neighbourhoods and local environments and are part of the solution, thank you.”
The summit also heard from Michael Cartwright JP, Chairman of the Bench at West London Magistrates Court, who said that the court, on Talgarth Road, is one of the busiest in the UK and that “the root cause of most crime we see is from drugs and alcohol”. He also called for more people to come forward and train to become a magistrate.
As the four-workshops finished officers read out the key priorities as set by residents and pledged to tackle the long list of actions over the coming weeks and months. Drug-dealers, cycling on pavements, more CCTV, better focusing of Police patrols to ensure that they are in the right place at the right time, fly-tipping and a tougher stance on some off-licences and late night venues were all highlighted by local people.
Joseph Edmondson, 70, from Epirus Road said: “I’m worried about some anti-social youths who hang around and cause trouble. There’s a threat of violence and I hear things. We need the Police to get out there and get a grip on it.”
Cllr Smith concluded: “Residents’ priorities are central to winning the battle against crime locally and there is a growing sense that we are acting as one team to tackle the criminal under-belly. No-one should have to suffer crime or anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhoods and we need to take the fight to the criminals and maintain our hard-line zero tolerance approach.”