Havering police sergeant shows how much officers care for the community
- Credit: Archant
“None of us here are pushed into this role,” said a sergeant responding to claims that police are not doing enough to tackle crimes in the borough.
“We want to help and create a safe living environment for everyone.”
Sgt Jenny Moore, who supervises the Harold Wood, Heaton and Gooshays Safer Neighbourhood Teams spoke to the Recorder on Wednesday, last week and revealed just how much officers care about the community they serve.
At a meeting on Friday, May 26, at myplace, Dagnam Park Drive, Harold Hill, hundreds of people had packed the hall to voice concerns about a rise in crime and antisocial behaviour in borough.
So many people attended that around 60 to 70 had to be turned away due to a lack space.
Officers also faced criticism that since the launch of the tri-borough merger – where the Havering police combined with Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham to form the East Area Command Borough Command Unit (BCU)– the service was stretched leading to a crime rise.
But PCSO Alanna Yeomans who has served the Gooshays ward for nearly 14 years explained what she believes is the reason behind this perception.
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“Social media,” she said.
“It’s a wonderful thing but it can also be quite disruptive as well. Something that starts small can become huge.”
This became evident when officers where called to remove an unknown teenager from The Albany, Broadstone, Hornchurch, on Thursday, June 22.
He had entered the school grounds without permission and had refused to leave
But instead on Facebook, false rumours circulated that there had been a stabbing at the school.
“It’s [social media] very useful if there’s been burglary, people can tighten up on security. But the [downside] is people start to worry and panic,” continued Sgt Moore.
“But it can have a negative impact on the hard work that these guys do. The way people discuss and portray us as a team can suggest that we are not doing anything.
“But we are out there and helping people. We are dealing with the actual events not the social media of things which are being inflated.”
There are stark differences between different police departments.
Safer Neighbourhood officers engage with the community and solve problems within it. They are not emergency officers who respond to 999 calls.
But the service provided is invaluable – evidenced by the Recorder who joined the team on a patrol – and much happens behind the scenes.
“A mum in her 70s and daughter had been burgled and I’ve been round several times to make sure they are ok,” added PCSO Yeomans.
Heaton ward’s PC Max Hume added: “We helped a vulnerable chap who lived on his own with special needs. He was a target for people who latched onto him.
“They were taking money from him and using his place to store stuff. We got him rehoused out the borough and he has been given assisted housing and will be managed by social services.”
Sgt Moore revealed that the team had also prevented planned fights and an ammonia attack from occurring at Central Park, Harold Hill, over the May bank holiday.
“We put in place a dispersal zone, increased patrols and linked in with the park’s police and specials,” continued Sgt Moore.
“Because of the hard work put in, there were no incidents.”
Across the BCU there are more than 200 dedicated ward officers and PCSOs.
The Recorder joined several for a patrol in Farnham Road and Hilldene Avenue, Harold Hill, and the warmth officers exhibited towards community members was palpable.
Officers could not take more than five steps before they were stopped by people wanting to chit chat, report a problem and even share a joke.
“Residents of the three wards are a very close community and they look out for each other,” continued Sgt Moore.
“And the majority of them know and engage with us and work with us.
“It’s a very good community.”