Categories
Policing

Police account for themselves

I attended the Ealing Community & Police Consultative Group last night. I had not attended before but was keen to hear the Borough Commander, Collette Paul, speak. In her Borough-wide policing report she gave a preview of crime statistics for the Borough for the year just ended.

It was a mixed picture with overall crime increasing fractionally by 1.5%. Some notable successes balanced by new problems.

Down:

Thefts of motor vehicles – down 33.7%
Residential burglary – down 31.7%
Wounding – down 10.6%

Up:

Thefts from motor vehicles – up 19.7%
Pick pocketing – up 68.6%
Snatch thefts – up 130%
Robbery of the person – up 35.5%

It seems that proactive police work and the SmartWater scheme have had an effect on residential burglary. The fall in wounding was put down to partnership working with the licensed trade.

On the negative side it seems that thefts of high value electronic equipment, such as satnavs and portable PCs, as well as cash, have driven the rise of thefts from motor vehicles. Commander Paul recounted one case where the same “customer” had come back three times having left stuff out in his car. A slow learner I think! The Group Chairman, Charles Gallichan, pointed out that some thieves are looking for the ring made by the sucker that holds satnavs in place on windscreens and then breaking in to look under the passenger seat for the kit. Commander Paul said that some thieves have scanners to help them locate hibernating PCs in boots of cars. Turn them off completely. We should be hearing about developments in this area soon. The three categories of robbery (pick pocketing, snatch thefts and robbery of the person) are being driven by three factors: gangs of youths targeting buses, a Hammersmith gang of bike robbers and the sextrade.

Commander Paul presented a slide showing the correlation between crime and crack houses. Five have been closed down recently. There are many more to root out and this will be a big Police priority over the next few months. Commander Paul’s objective is to get rid of them all and then stamp hard on any new ones so that the message goes out that they will not be tolerated in Ealing.

Overall Commander Paul gave the impression of having a grip. She handled the Q & A session well including the grumbling from the floor. A recurrent grumble was poor customer service at Ealing Police Station, something of which I have had experience of myself. She is actively looking at a long term solution to this problem.

Susan Parsonage, Head of the Council’s envirocrime unit, then talked about how the Council is working in concert with the Police and others to tackle environmental crime. It sounds like they have made a good start but that there is a long way to go. She acknowledged the council’s poor performance in enforcing Penalty Charge Notices (see previous posting) but felt that the Council’s performance should be measured in terms of improving peoples’ environments. Success in stopping the street selling of cars in Greenford needs to be repeated in many other places.