‘As your local police chief, it is my responsibility to ensure that Newham gets the resources it needs’
PUBLISHED: 16:43 21 February 2013 | UPDATED: 17:00 21 February 2013
Rob Jones, Borough Commander - Newham
Regular readers of this column will know that the Crime and Policing Plan proposed by MoPAC (Mayor Office of Policing and Crime) has set some tough challenges both for reducing crime and improving public confidence in us in Newham. To achieve this, at a time when we have to make major financial savings, the Met will have to change the way it operates - these changes are intended not only to make us more efficient but also make us as good as we can be.
At the recent public meeting in Stratford Old Town Hall chaired by MOPAC, a number of different concerns were raised by local people, including changes to safer neighbourhood teams and the proposed closure of some police stations. As your local police chief, it is my responsibility to ensure that Newham gets the resources it needs, and I promise that I will never make a decision based on cost saving that endangers members of the public or compromises the standard of service we provide. This means that I will not allow any police station to close where it would have an adverse impact on our ability to do our job in keeping people safe, or if it will make it more difficult for people to speak to a police officer when they need to. Part of me is sad to see any station close - they are part of our history - but East Ham Police Station is an old building which is expensive to maintain and no longer suitable for our policing requirements, and when we make choices between paying for buildings and police officers it is clear where my priorities should be. East Ham Station is therefore set to close, and we have careful plans in place to ensure this does not have any negative effects for policing in the area. Forest Gate and Plaistow Police Stations will remain, and I will seek for them to be improved to be fit for purpose for the officers who are based there, and nicer places to visit for people who want to report crime direct to an officer. But some decisions are more difficult. One of our Police Stations under review for closure in the future is Stratford in West Ham Lane, which is in a location where, for different reasons, I think we need a strong policing presence - and I know from the meeting that many residents feel the same. I will be in discussion with senior officers and staff at New Scotland Yard over the next month about the operational needs of the Stratford area and the future of the station. I will be also thinking about where to have new access points in at least four locations in Newham where people can meet police officers to talk about any crime concerns they have.
I can understand that some residents who have build trust in their local neighbourhood officers will feel anxious about the changes, but I am confident that you will feel the benefits of the changes we will make to neighbourhood police: every ward will have a dedicated, named police officer and PCSO who will spend at least 95% of their time on their ward dealing with local problems. In addition, there will be nearly three times as many police officers as we currently have in Safer Neighbourhood Teams supporting them across four areas of Newham, each with a community inspector. This will enable us to address some of the bigger issues that affect lives - this will help us to make a real difference. I hope to welcome the first wave of new officers to the borough in April, and to continue to grow in number to July 2015.
If you weren’t able to attend the public meeting, of course we still want to seek your views. All of the information about the proposed crime and policing plan is online, including a form to send your views to MOPAC, and you can also contact the Newham Recorder to voice your opinion.
For more information, please visit the MOPAC website at www.london.gov.uk/events/policing-and-crime-consultation-events