Last night we had the 3rd Safer Neighbourhood Team focus meeting. Sgt Elam was there along with his PC, Stuart Hedley. There were 6 reps from residents and traders associations plus Ricky Wright, our envirocrime enforcement officer and Cllr Millican and myself.
The team of four promised by the Mayor by the end of April (see his press release) finally materialised at the end of November. Only 7 months late. Such are pre-election promises.
The good news is that a third PCSO is due to start today and another PC in January to bring us up to the full SNT team strength of 6 (1 sergeant, 2 PCs and 3 PCSOs).
The accommodation issue is not yet settled. The latest plan is a shared shop unit on South Ealing Road with the Ealing Common team. Sounds good to me.
We spent most of our time examining the three priorities set by the focus meeting.
At the last meeting we set reducing the levels of drug activity as the first priority. Although there are 3 potential hot spots in the area the team have only found one person in possession since they started operating in April. They make about 30 stops per week so after stopping almost 1,000 people they have found 1 person. The police officers thought that the problem may be more one of perception than reality.
Motor vehicle crime is the biggest single category of crime in the ward. In Q2 there were 61 incidents, it went down to 35 in Q3 and back up to 48 in Q4. There is quite a mix with everything from key scratching to satnav thefts. There is a particular problem with one individual slashing car tyres. It is perhaps more prevalent in the south of the ward where it neighbours Brentford. Most victims are residents. The Police are actively educating owners to try to reduce the incidence of this crime. The team have not nabbed any villains for car crime.
Since the team started eight young offenders have been caught. Most have been let off with a caution as this is the first time they have come to the attention of the Police. One individual should be getting an ASBO on Thursday. There was general agreement that the new graffiti service combined with an effective envirocrime protection officer, Ricky, and this effective police work was having a marked effect on graffiti in the area.
Linda Massey, from Boston Manor Residents Association, has been championing a new style of cheap CCTV system and has been working with the shops in Boston Manor Parade. This was of great interest to the Northfield Traders rep where they are having a problem with vandals scratching glass.
There was a big growth in burglaries in the last quarter to 24. More worrying there were 14 incidents in the last two weeks. Sneak thieves talking their way into the homes of the elderly are included in this category. Luckily there has been no violence but everyone is warned to check the id of callers. Apparently there is a pair of women going around claiming to be from Age Concern. If you are vulnerable trust no-one.
We had a conversation about resetting priorities. The number one priority should be burglary, followed by motor vehicle crime, followed by more general criminal damage including graffiti.
The next meeting is provisionally scheduled for 7.30pm at room upstairs at the Harvester on Boston Manor Road on 13th February.
Call Sgt Elam on 07879 888989 if you have any local crime issues or if you would like to attend the next focus meeting.