Editor’s comment: No simple answers in crime battle
PUBLISHED: 14:10 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:10 27 July 2018
This week’s front page story – on the rise in violent crime in the last year across Havering – does not make for comfortable reading.
I am fortunate enough to know a number of police officers – some of whom I would count amongst my closest friends – and I know that the constant battle being fought to keep Londoners safe has never been more difficult.
Day in, day out, London’s police officers do a fantastic and often thankless job keeping us all safe.
But sadly, as with everything in life, we must take the good with the bad, and in this case the bad can be quite easily named: Tri-borough policing and the closure of local police stations.
There can surely be no doubt in anyone’s minds that our borough has suffered as a result of the merging of Havering’s policing teams with those of Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge.
The evidence is clear to see in the figures released by the ONS this week, if it wasn’t already in reports this paper has previously published about huge increases in response times.
Part of Havering’s unique character is that many of its residents do not consider themselves to be Londoners.
In this case, I am forced to agree that being more closely tied in with our neighbouring London boroughs has not helped our communities stay safe.
And some people may well be put out by comments from Det Ch Supt Jason Gwillim, who points out that the story of Havering’s crime rise over the last 12 months is being played out in broadly similar strokes across the entire country.
Such a deflection, from a man uniquely placed to control policing specifically in our area, will be no comfort to the victims of the 18,000 crimes reported in Havering in the last year.
Our only hope can be that the same lines are not used in a year’s time, and that the Mayor of London’s Office, our local police chiefs and those in power in Whitehall find a solution to these problems as soon as possible.