Police & Community Safety Board meeting and AGM

Yesterday I attended a 3 hour long meeting of the Tower Hamlets Police & Community Safety Board meeting and AGM. I did not apply to have any Officer function on the board.

Attendees yesterday included Paul Rickett, Borough Commander for the Metropolitan Police and Keith Trobridge from the Canary Wharf Group.

The council was represented by Emily Fieran-Reed.

Paul Rickett commented on his historic achievement of not only reducing crime in the borough but also reducing complaints against police in the borough. Commander Rickett also spoke of a historic change in policing strategy in that a new Drugs and Anti-Social Behaviour Task Force will be built. The borough will be split into 4 Quadrants, with one inspector each.

The matter of budget is over-shadowing any matter to do with community safety and policing. The PCSB board itself will get less funding from the MPA. I however approached the new treasurer Anne Ambrose with suggestions that funding can be found elsewhere and one has to be flexible to exploit all avenues of funding and not only look to the MPA for it. I understand this year only the salary of the engagement officer will be covered.

Last year the PCSB held many public events to increase the trust the community places in policing but this year the cost of these events is no longer guaranteed.

The discussion came to domestic violence and the view was expressed that it is mostly not the woman (often with child) who is the perpetrator but the man and generally the aggressor party. Especially in the case of women with children a policy has to be able to adapt to housing and social care needs that allows continued care in the community by the circle of family and friends a person is accustomed to instead of fleeing women to strange out-of-the-borough accommodation where they are without family or friends support and become even more vulnerable because of this. Also Tower Hamlets has the Sure-Start program, which is a vital part in helping young children to enjoy stability in their daily lives when they have been subjected to problematic family circumstances.I personaly challenged Emily Fieran-Reid on how well services or women with children, who were victims of domestic violence, are coordinated to give the best help without making the women feel victims or responsible for what happened to them.

A little discussion evolved around the roles that social services and housing play in this.

Also the drug rehabilitation programs were praised, it came however to the table that many initiatives around this were made by the LAP groups, which now seem to have been dissolved. The associated “You decide” events often also allocated funds to drug rehabilitation programs. Questions were asked about budgets of LAPs and that this aspect was not transparent enough.

The police is committed to the continuation of the Safer Neighbourhood Policing Strategy. I sit on the local SNT panel and hope to get more news at the next meeting. Incidentally I also sit on the Stop and Search scrutiny panel but most of what’s discussed in that group is confidential. I would however recommend that all who are stopped and searched should always take the number of the police officer and make a complaint if necessary.

I welcome any comments about this, please contact me per e-mail here

You can find minustes and reports about the PCSB on the Tower Hamlets Council website

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