Met Borough Commander to speak at public meeting on policing in Chiswick

Image above: Metropolitan Pokce library image

Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson to speak at meeting on Tuesday 4 October

The Metropolitan Police Borough Commander for West London will be coming to talk to residents about policing at a public meeting in Chiswick on Tuesday 4 October.

This will be the third public meeting addressed by a senior member of the force responsible for the tri-borough area of Hillingdon, Ealing and Hounslow since the Met was reorganised into 12 Basic Command Units in 2017.

Organised by Cllr Ranjit Gill, the meeting is an opportunity for residents to ask questions of Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, West Area Borough Commander and local police officers.

Image above: Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, speaking about the murder of Thomas O’Halloran, the 87 year old man fatally stabbed in his mobility scooter in Greenford in August

At previous public meetings police acknowledged Chiswick had a problem with street crime

In December 2018 Superintendent Gary Taylor, then the Base Command Unit Deputy Commander for the London West area, came to Chiswick and listened to residents’ concerns as a succession of people stood up and talked about how their children had been targeted in attacks on the street.

Just the week before there had been a serious incident at Chiswick park tube station when a teenager was stabbed, attacked inside the front entrance of the station by a gang of four youths who had apparently followed him off the train.

Superintendent Taylor acknowledged Chiswick had a crime problem and told a packed meeting at St Michael & All Angels Church the police recognized it and were acting on it.

“We know there is a problem here” he said and promised to come back with a plan.

This kind of crime is not accurately represented in crime statistics because it is very often not reported. Official crime statistics show Chiswick to be a low crime area where thefts from cars appear to be the biggest problem, but the number of accounts and the level of anxiety amongst those those who reported muggings and abuse gave showed this is a much bigger problem than the statistics revealed.

Image above: Superintendent Gary Taylor addressing a public meeting in Chiswick in December 2018

Police action as a result of the first meeting

Superintendent Gary Taylor came back the following March to report on the measures he had put in place to safeguard young people on the street. They had targeted resources on the area around Chiswick Common and Turnham GreenTterrace and their increased presence and targeted activity had made a significant impact.

Supt Taylor said that under ‘Operation Wolverine’ ten officers had been assigned to Chiswick over the previous ten or eleven weeks, five of whom were the highest arresting officers in the whole of London. They had also had a police interceptor unit based with their vehicle in Chiswick.

When he spoke to the second meeting in March they had just arrested ten suspects. Five had been convicted in court and they had other operations ongoing as a result of their increased presence and in particular their policy of targeting young men known to have carried weapons previously.

Again members of the audience gave first hand evidence of assaults, which suggested the increased police presence may just have displaced criminal assaults elsewhere in Chiswick. That meeting was not long after the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Abdirashid Mohamoud in Isleworth, and followed a number of stabbing incidents in west London in the previous few months.

Supt Taylor promised the police would not just focus on our area for three months and then shift their attention elsewhere. He said the West area would have 90 new members of staff joining them over the next three months to beef up the response teams. He was also bidding for additional resources from the Metropolitan Police to enable them to keep up the momentum.

Image: Cllr Ranjit Gill

The meeting on Tuesday 4 October will be the first opportunity post-pandemic for Chiswick residents to speak to the new Borough Commander. Residents will have the chance to ask questions during the evening but are also encouraged to submit questions in advance by email to ranjit.gill@hounslow.gov.uk

Local Chiswick Conservative councillors will also be there and will raise concerns that residents have raised with them.

“After two previous successful and well-attended meetings, I’m delighted to be able to invite residents to the latest Chiswick police forum” said Cllr Gill.

“It is crucial that residents feel able to express worries about crime to local police officers, and meetings like this will ensure our local police team and Borough Commander get a better understanding of the issues that need to be addressed in our local area. I look forward to a productive meeting.”

One of the issues raised at the previous two meetings was street lighting, which is a local council matter rather than the responsibility of the police. Shoplifting was another concern, said Cllr Gill.  Since the previous public meetings Chiswick has also seen a focus on theft from cars and theft of parcels from doorsteps. Drug dealing continues to be a concern.

The meeting is free to attend; residents do not need to pre-register. The event will take place on Tuesday, 4 October at 7pm at Chiswick Town Hall (W4 4JN).  Doors open at 6.30pm

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Ruth Cadbury MP links funding cuts to knife crime

See also: Stripping victims ‘new element’ to street robberies

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