Sgt Arif Malik, PC Alan Richens, PCSO Lucy Burt and PCSO Eugenia Venour met with some 25 local residents to discuss implementation of the Safer Neighbourhoods initiative. Wendy Kyle-Pope, the borough liaison between police and wards, whose remit is to improve communications, chaired the meeting. Future meetings will be chaired by Dr Jenny Atton, who also chairs the Cole Park Road Residents Association.

The Safer Neighbourhood Team consists of six police and police community support officers, whose aim is to address the community’s key concerns. The meeting was set up to define these concerns, seek understanding of the background to them from residents, and discuss the most practical ways of tackling them. They were as follows:

Antisocial behaviour

Bad behaviour by youths (unidentified), principally on open leisure facilities across the borough:

  • Moormead Park was identified as a magnet for youths on warm summer evenings: Fridays and Saturdays during term time, and every night of the week during school holidays. Residents were at pains to make it clear that they have no objection to young people using the Mead to meet and socialise, but rowdiness and wilful destruction are unwelcome.
  • Grimwood Park was also singled out as being subject to this behaviour — particularly unpleasant for the elderly living in adjacent sheltered accommodation.

With regard to Moormead, this situation makes it impossible to carry out any further improvements – in particular, the cricket pavilion – without security being enhanced. One resident who is involved in the pavilion upgrade has indicated that he would not be recommending any further expenditure until this is addressed.

Recommendations

  • For Moormead, one solution could be CCTV, initially using the portable camera as a test. Alan Johnson is the person at the Council responsible for this, and the Safer Neighbourhood Team is going to speak to him to see if this can be trialled.
  • In the instances of both parks, more frequent foot patrols would be welcome.
  • For Grimwood, a higher fence between the sheltered housing and the park would improve the situation, plus additional lighting. This is to be discussed with the Council.

Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Theft from Tesco

Attendees pointed out that antisocial behaviour is usually fuelled by alcohol, often stolen and sometimes bought by underage drinkers. There were several eye witness accounts: the culprits simply hang around the bus stop outside Tesco waiting for the trains to come in; once the supermarket is busy with people who have just stepped off the train, they dart in and snatch bottles off the shelves. It is all too easy.

Recommendations

  • Position alcohol on shelves closer to the till where staff can keep an eye on it – currently it is far too close to the door. Or:
  • Position a guard at the entrance/exit as a deterrent.

How to contact the Safer Neighbourhood Team

  • In an emergency, call 999.
  • To report a social nuisance (eg rowdy behaviour), in the first instance call the Safer Neighbourhood Team on 0208 721 2912 — if you get an answer-machine, call the Control Room on 020 8247 7021.
  • To put forward a view or a suggestion in writing, email the team on: stmargarets.northtwickenham.snt@met.police.uk