tonight’s meeting was held in the Tower Hamlets town hall in Mulberry Place and we had to share the room with ballot boxes, which presumable were there in preparation of the Mayoral elections of 21 October 2010.
It was an open meeting, aimed to attracting new members with some very interesting contributions from
- John Biggs, representative from the MPA, and also a GLA member
- Nigel Nottidge from MET police in charge of SNT team policing
- Richard Hunt from London Communities Policing Partnership
All 3 explained the roles they and their organisations play in the policing of London.
Discussion also bordered on presumed changes to the policing tactics and strategy in London, expected cut-backs and proposed service improvements and how to focus on where police is needed most rather than have a blanket approach that all areas throughout London need the same size SNT team.
Of course recent events that are important were the saving of Limehouse Police station by a 1,500 strong petition, the new Whitechapel town centre team.
There was an emphasis on problem solving approaches, which is where the SNT ward panels come in, whereby members of the community, that are appointed ward panel members can scrutinize the methods police use to solve crime hotspot problems.
Tower Hamlets has the highest density and fastest growing youth population in London, to show you the scale of the challenge. Much is done by police officers who are placed in schools who built good relationships with youth.
John Biggs voiced concern for PCSB funding because of expected cut-backs but there are no certainties yet. He explained how the new government wants to replace the London Policing Authority with a Police Commissioner, who is also the acting Mayor of London. Whether that will then have a further knock on effect on community relations groups like the PCSB is to be seen. Policing by consent is the current strategy that engages the community with Safer Neighbourhood Panels and the Police and Community Safety Board in conjunction with the Tower Hamlets Partnership.
SNT ward panels generally lack a mix of ethnic representation, whereby especially the Chinese and Polish communities do not participate at all and others are very slow to show interest. SNT distribution will be discussed during the spending review that takes place on 20 October 2010. A new business watch group has been established in the Truemans brewery building, but it was mentioned that a wider residents, council and services provider group in conjunction with businesses would be very welcome, that would also fit in better with the new education approach.
The LPC2 assesses the effectiveness of policing strategies and operations and also how effective funding is for groups like the PCSB.
The meeting was attended by a very wide range of service providers in Tower Hamlets and many interesting questions were asked especially around youth engagement and the community payback scheme.
If any changes and transitions are going to take place, we’ll know within the next few weeks and months to come.