Lydford Hall was packed full on Thursday 21st March with local people asking questions of Police Inspector Finbar King, who explained how the police service is currently organised and how they are addressing the issue of knife attacks. His focus was on incidents in Harrow Road, Queen’s Park and Westbourne Wards. He also spoke about issues in surrounding areas of Brent and North Kensington. In response to a query raised, he said that many knife incidents were linked to drug trafficking.
Karen Buck MP spoke on the impact of local cuts and the improved communications from the local police. Members of the public, parents/carers and local youth workers raised a whole range of issues – local experiences of violent activities affecting youngsters; the way cuts to services were impacting on the abilities of the police to perform; and a lack of safe places for young people to attend in order to undertake activities out of school hours.
Key points residents made:
- Real worries about there being fewer police officers with increasing crime in the area, including youth violence, anti-social behaviour and vehicle break-ins
- Frustration that so many local services that could play a role have been cut or closed down altogether, e.g Stowe Youth Club;
- Concerns about the number of people with severe mental health issues and the police and other services not working together effectively to deal with these;
- That the number of school exclusions may be playing a role in issue of youth crime.
We will continue to campaign against government and council cuts to services and policing, and where we can such as the Lydford Youth Club, find money ourselves if we can to keep things open. There are some specific actions though from what we heard that we will work on:
- Investigate the spike in school exclusions in the last year and hold the council and others to account to ensure measures are only used fairly and appropriately
- Scrutinise how police and council services are working together to deal properly where there are people with known severe mental health issues in the community
- Continue to be a route for people to feed intelligence, anonymously if needs be, about crime to our local policing team.
We hope to feedback to you in the coming weeks the progress we make on these.
Remember if you want to report a crime, but you do not want to be identified to the police, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.