Ealing Liberal Democrat Councillor Athena Zissimos writes of her concern over the lack of police.
Where are our promised police?
Hanger Hill ward, on paper is meant to have 2 police constables (PCs) and 1 police community support officers (PCSOs) and until now a probationary officer.
In reality what Hanger Hill has is one PC, as one PC is on maternity leave and the PSCO is on restricted duty and not available and one probationary officer who will be rotating out to another department this month and will not been replaced. So just one PC really.
Liberal Democrats believe that for policing to be effective you need them in number and working with the community. But instead the Labour Mayor of London and the Tory Government, who are responsible for police numbers, are serving our local communities badly.
This one officer is expected to walk or get around on public transport from Acton Police Station to Hanger Hill, there is no direct route using public transport and it could take you if your timings are wrong more than 30 mins if not longer to get to the middle of the ward, walking could take you a good 45 minutes if not longer to get the same spot. No car is available to community police on an everyday basis, it is all meant to get the police engaging with the community as we see them walk around.
I imagine it was never meant that the police would take an hour and half just going and coming back from their wards. This plan was clearly drawn up when there was a local police station on every High Street, even little hubs like there was once at Hanger Lane, we now have a barely functioning station at Ealing.
Liberal Democrats say that as a team the PC and the probationary officer were hugely successful on one of my key concerns, that is the organised begging on the Hanger Lane Gyratory, which I find threatening as a woman driver stuck at a red light, with someone knocking on my car window asking for money. Not to mention the horror of accidentally knocking someone over as they hover on the median strips in the middle of a motorway.
Together the team issued a number of restrictive orders that gradually got more serious, to the point of getting them to court, and then the Home Office and deportation. This has curtailed the begging activity, which is all organised dramatically, and I am hugely appreciative that the police have now, after some persuasion of its importance to some drivers have taken a more robust approach. Please remember any money you give a beggar on the Gyratory, along the A40 for that matter, is supporting organised crime, so do not do it.
I am sure the one PC will do the very best, but how well can they function on their own. Earlier on a day I went walkabout with local community police team, they had apprehended suspects dealing drugs locally, one suspect ran one way the other another way, it will be a challenge for a lone PC to deal with a situation like this. Nor should we be expecting a lone PC to be dealing with a situation like this, or perhaps a more dangerous one on their own.
Liberal Democrats say this part of the ward feels so insecure, that residents pay for private security to operate overnight to patrol their few streets, is this going to be the future?
The Met commissioner keeps promising us more police, the Tory government keeps telling us it is recruiting thousands more police, where are they?