City & East GLA member Unmesh Desai has been checking out policing at the London Stadium

PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 December 2016

Unmesh Desai, GLA candidate for City and East

Unmesh Desai, GLA candidate for City and East


Life continues to be busy on the assembly police and crime committee and Newham has featured heavily in our recent work, which saw the issue of policing and security in and around the London Stadium as a major topic.

I am particularly keen to look at the policing of the park as a whole and the challenge posed by what is effectively a new township.

Press attention has focused on the disorder at West Ham games and we have had added complexity of the footfall caused by Westfield and Stratford as a major transport hub. However, as I said at the meeting, let us not forget the growing community that lives in the park.

Police station closures as a result of massive central government cuts do not help but we need to get all agencies based on the park working together and developing joined-up ways of working. We heard from Baroness Brady, representing West Ham United; the officer tasked with tackling football-related criminal behaviour Commander Bevington; LLDC chief executive David Goldstone and Westfield as well as the stadium and security operators and Newham Council.

One of the benefits of this unique exercise was that we could look at all issues holistically, from potential links between the stadium design as a former athletics ground and safety risks to clubs paying more for policing. Our investigation continues with a visit to the park and I am looking to a radical and innovative set of recommendations which could be a trailblazer for policing of major venues and large-scale developments.

Newham also gave evidence to our work around radicalisation, in particular the need to be proactive by focusing on school projects and training frontline workers.

I also quizzed the outgoing commissioner at his very last meeting about Lord Harris’s terrorism review with its 127 recommendations. He thought the recommendations were robust and will help to make our city safer.

Contrary to attacks in some quarters that it was “slapdash”, we can’t allow political point-scoring to take away focus for what has been one of the mayor’s first achievements. More from Unmesh

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