Respect the Police Week: Havering residents and politicians call on all of us to do more to respect our coppers!
PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:36 22 July 2019
A group of Havering residents is launching a campaign this week urging members of the public to show their respect for police officers in our borough.
A number of concerned people who help run the Havering Safe Streets Facebook group think it's important to show our hard-working constables, sergeants and inspectors how much they are valued.
One Havering Safe Streets member was recently invited on a ride-along with a police inspector, and was shocked at the way officers were treated by some members of the public.
That trip, combined with the fact the summer holidays are about to start and the recent London-wide rise in knife crime, has led to this campaign.
Ian Taylor is one of those responsible for the idea - though not the member who went on that ride-along.
He told the Recorder: "I think it's paramount for us all to respect the police.
"I remember when I was a boy, if the police turned up you listened to them and you did whatever they told you to do.
"Now I see some of the ways people speak to the police, or act towards them, and I think it's disgusting.
"What we're witnessing is a breakdown in society - if we haven't got people out on the streets to keep law and order then what do we have?"
Ian also hopes that movements like the Respect the Police Week will help encourage more people to feel comfortable joining the service.
He said: "It's as simple as parents telling their children to respect the police when they see them.
"You never know when you're going to need their help, but at some point in your life you will need them to help you out.
"And the second thing is if you see a copper out in the streets, just go up to them and say hello - thank them for the fantastic job they're doing, because it's hard to do it at the moment.
"That's two simple things all of us can do."
So whether it's stopping to say hello to your bobby on the beat, or simply making sure you pull over as a police car goes by, why not go the extra mile to let your local policemen and women know they're appreciated.
The Recorder is proud to back Havering residents in this initiative and urges everyone to respect the work of our police officers.
Editor Lindsay Jones said: "This is a worthwhile initiative that I think we can all agree to get behind.
"The police are doing a tough job at the best of times, working to keep us as safe as possible, and with the start of the summer holidays this is a timely reminder that they are human beings too and deserve our respect."
Havering Council has also given the campaign its seal of approval, but highlighted the fact that the vast majority of the borough's young people already respect the authorities.
Councillor Damian White, council leader, said: "Our police officers do a fantastic job keeping us safe and deserve to be respected by everyone.
"We work closely with the police to help tackle the issues they face, especially in the fight against anti-social behaviour.
"We can't place enough value on them and we're seeking to increase their presence in the borough by recruiting additional officers and keeping Hornchurch Police Station open.
"We place great importance on a healthy relationship between the police, council and young people.
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"We are keen to champion the great things our young people are achieving.
"While it's crucial we encourage respect for our police, we must also be conscious not to unnecessarily vilify young people, but celebrate the valuable role they play in our community."
Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, said he was pleased to support the campaign.
He added: "Our hardworking police most definitely deserve the utmost respect from not only the young people of Romford but from all residents.
"Clearly, more work must be done to tackle this gang culture mindset against the authorities, who simply have no respect for the law or our local community.
"In regards to what local residents can further do, it would be a good idea to get involved with your local Safer Neighbourhood Team, as well as the Neighbourhood Watch and Street Watches in your area.
"The more feedback and support we can give to the local police, the better."
Rainham and Dagenham's MP, Jon Cruddas, launched his own "Calling Time on Crime" campaign earlier this year in response to a rise in violent crime across his own constituency.
The campaign is "demanding that the government step up and give our police the support they need to keep our streets safe", and calls on more funding for the Metropolitan Police Service.
Nearly 5,000 people have signed his petition - which is online at JonCruddas.org.uk.
Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez said she is reminded daily of the hard work police carry out in her constituency and across the UK as a whole.
She added: "It is great to see a grassroots campaign of support for that work emerge across the borough, with residents so keen to show officers how valued they are and encouraging others to respect what they do.
"I hope through this Havering residents' campaign, and the national police covenant initiative, we can show officers just how much they are valued."
Mrs Lopez has already worked on supporting police officers in Parliament, through her efforts in the campaign to establish a police covenant to better recognise the bravery of officers.
Speaking at the Police Federation's Bravery Awards in London on Friday, July 19, home secretary Savid Javid said: "This will be a pledge to do more as a nation to help those who serve this country.
"It will ensure the sacrifice made by the police is properly recognised.
"I'm in awe of every officer who plays their part in keeping this country safe."
Havering's London Assembly member, Keith Prince, was quick to praise our police officers.
He told the Recorder: "Our brave police officers in Havering run towards to danger when everyone else runs away.
"They put their own safety at risk to protect us, and we owe them our support and gratitude.
"It is no secret that crime is on the rise right across London, which has put huge pressures on the Metropolitan Police.
"It is clearly possible that crime may increase further over the summer months, so I pay tribute to those residents behind the Respect the Police Week campaign.
"It is important for all residents to be reminded of the pressures that officers are under along with the support that we are all able to offer our cops.
"At City Hall I will continue to push Sadiq Khan to roll out measures to protect our police officers, including an expansion in the use of Taser and a review of the policy of single crewing, which puts police officers at risk and can cause issues when making arrests."