Newham’s Borough Commander Ch Supt Rob Jones on the changes in Newham’s policing


- Credit: Archant

Operation West

The debate has stepped up recently about the effects of changes to public services like policing and fire fighting to London and to Londoners, and I thought it would be the right time to update you about what we are doing here in Newham.

After months of planning, we have started to make some significant changes in how we provide policing. This week, many of our CID investigative resources have moved together under one roof at Forest Gate Police Station, and some of our support functions have moved to Stratford Police Station. As well as getting better at investigating crime, we want to prevent crime and provide visible reassurance so Newham residents feel safe. This project is called the Local Policing Model (LPM) and is being implemented on every London borough. It is intended that we will be fully live and ready across all of Newham borough by September this year, and we have new police officers joining us in waves over the next few months to give us the best opportunity to make a real difference.

One of the most significant changes in local policing is the creation of Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPT). Currently, we have Safer Neighbourhood Teams with which I hope you will be familiar. Under the LPM, these will be developed to form a more resilient unit, so we can get better at solving problems like anti social behaviour and prostitution that blight people’s lives, and not just respond to crimes that have already happened.

To start making a difference that you notice as local residents as quickly as possible, we have set up “Operation West”, which aims to implement the new NPTs initially on the existing West Quadrant wards of Stratford, West Ham, Forest Gate North, Forest Gate South and the new ward that has been set up in the Queen Elizabeth Park. This project will ‘go live’ on Monday July 1st and we have recruited and selected the teams, who are currently being trained and prepared for their new challenge.

The new and enhanced NPTs will be responsible for community engagement and patrol, crime reduction and the investigation of certain ‘neighbourhood crimes’. They will tackle the crime and antisocial behaviour that matters to you. Each ward team will consist of a Sergeant, six Constables and two Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Stratford ward will be further enhanced with ten Constables on account of policing demand and they will be further supported by the existing Westfield Team.

The NPT as a cluster will be overseen by an Inspector and supported by a Detective Sergeant who will advise on all aspects of criminal investigation and tactics. Of the six constables, one will be nominated as the ‘Dedicated Officer’ which means that they will be the community’s single point of contact and cannot be abstracted from their ward for other duties. The NPTs will also be able to draw on the support of Special Constables as a deployable resource to hot-spots or events.

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We live in very challenging times: I am determined to reduce crime by 20% over three years - and we have to do this while making significant savings. Most of that will be felt in reducing the number of buildings we use and making better use of the ones we have. This means that some, like East Ham Police Station, will close. But this is real chance to get as many officers as we can out in communities doing their job, and we will open new access points where people need to talk to police. Neighbourhood policing is the first of many things we are reviewing, from investigating crime, to intelligence, to planning for making officers available to police big events as well as local problems. I am confident that this will be noticed by the people living, working and staying in Newham.