Police Chief Promises Senior Officer For Chiswick
Disquiet over 'crime spree' prompts Raj Kohli to pledge a designated Police Inspector
Chiswick has a low incidence of crime despite the public perception, local police chief Raj Kohli has said. However, the Borough Commander has pledged to reinstate a dedicated Police Inspector for Chiswick because of local disquiet on crime.
He told the Chiswick Area Forum (CAF) meeting (Tuesday September 26th) that two unfilled PCSO posts for the area were also in the process of being filled. The police station on Chiswick High Road is earmarked for closure ( the current public consultation runs until 6 October ) which he said would save £305,000 a year. In its place there will three dedicated 'hubs' where the police teams will be based. There will be two dedicated ward officers and one PCSO for each ward.
A decision on whether to sell the building had not yet been made. If it were to be sold it would generate about £7.5 million which would then be ploughed back into the police service.
People were no longer using front counters to report crime. About 80 per cent of crimes reported could have been done so by smartphone or online. There were 73 police stations across London of which 33 were 24/hour, but only 3.5 crimes per front counter were reported every day. The savings were either going to come from buildings or staffing. He said the figures "simply do not stack up" to retain the front counter service in Chiswick.
To put the perception of high crime figures for Chiswick at rest, he said that last year in the Turnham Green ward, an average of four crimes per day were reported (including shop lifting). The figure for Riverside ward was 1.9 and Homefields was about the same. This was lower than most other areas of the borough. However he understood that not all crime was reported and the public perception around crime was also important. Therefore he had decided that Chiswick would have a police inspector -the current situation is that Brentford & Chiswick share an inspector since the departure of the previous incumbent.
In future the borough would only have one 24-hour front counter, which would be at Hounslow, he said, and this was because the station was at the centre of the borough.
Asked about an improved police visibility in the wake of the 'crime spree' he said he had made some changes and local safer neighbourhood teams had been reassigned from their other duties to being out on the beat. This was already yielding results.
One member of the public pointed out some people did not have smartphones or internet access. Chief Supt Kohli replied that 80% of people over the age of sixty did have a smartphone. Technology is here to stay, he said. We needed to change the culture of coming to the police station. There was also scope for more support from the Hammersmith & Fulham police teams.
Mr. Kohli said that he would be returning to Chiswick at a later date and would be available to discuss the crime situation and take more questions from the public. His appearance at the CAF was principally to discuss the consultation on closing the police station.
Chiswick Police Station avoided closure in 2013 when the then Mayor Boris Johnson instituted a range of cutbacks but it then ceased to operate on a 24 hour basis and is currently open from 9-5.
policing in London has been dropping steadily with over £600 million
already cut from the Metropolitan Police’s budget. A further £400
million was identified and it is expected that the station closures will
bring in half of that.
September 28, 2017