Chiswick looks fresher this week as scores of local people turned up to help the police clean up the Town.

Before and after at Turnham Green Terrace

Walls were white washed, fly posts were torn down and pigeon poop was scooped as Chiswick got a make-over courtesy of Chiswick Police and local volunteers. There was even a little celebrity help as Gareth Southgate (cardboard cutout version) turned up to lend a hand. He remains unclaimed last we heard so pop down to Chiswick Police station if you can find a use for him.

Inspector Mike Nicholls, who managed to paint the Medical Centre on Dolman Road without getting a single speck on his uniform, said that the event had been a terrific success.

Crime prevention Officer John Collis and his colleague John Conway manned the control centre of the clean up day from a marquee on Acton Green. They were very pleased with the amount of support they received from local residents. Some people came by to pick up a squirty bottle of cleaning fluid and a brush to deal with graffiti on their own walls while others generously cleaned up scribbles from public walls.

London Underground joined in the cleanup and tackled the railway bridges on Turnham Green Terrace and Prebend Gardens, mostly clearing up pigeon droppings.

Two offenders under community service orders had to paint a badly disfigured wall on Welstead Way. The officers reported with some satisfaction that the young offenders were hardly enthusiastic participants but had a supervisor monitoring their efforts to ensure they did a good job.

The CAC part funded the scheme with a £500 grant. Hounslow council have been so encouraged by the popularity of the scheme that they are considering setting up a permanent unit.

Both officers reported an additional benefit of the day was the effect a visible police presence had on the public. They said many people stopped on seeing the uniformed men and reported crimes. These were mostly crimes that the victims had deemed insufficiently important to report formally but were glad of an opportunity to discuss face-to-face. PC Conway said all the information was incredibly useful: he emphasised that the police are not mind-readers and rely on crimes being reported to know what is going on in the community and what areas need to be tackled. The feeling was that perhaps a police surgery along the lines of MPs monthly surgeries might be a welcome innovation for people to voice their concerns. The officers said they also followed discussions of crime in the CHISWICKW4 forum as a means of gaining information.

Another clean-up day is planned for September.

6th July 2002