Shadow Home Secretary In Chiswick For Crime Summit

Chris Grayling MP believes we need "21st century equivalent of a clip around the ear" to deal with young offenders

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(Left to right) Mary Macleod, Superintendent Simon Phipps, Chris Grayling MP, Cllr John Todd and Margaret Bourne.

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The Police in Chiswick

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling MP was in Chiswick today, Wednesday 25th March, to participate in a public meeting looking at crime issues in the area.

Chairing the panel was Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Mary Macleod, who was joined by Superintendent Simon Phipps from Metropolitan Police, Cllr John Todd and Margaret Bourne from Victim Support.

The aim of the meeting, was to listen to concerns of local residents and hear what local police are already doing to reduce crime in the community.

Mary Macleod spoke to the sparse audience about results gleaned from a recent survey conducted by Conservatives which showed that the biggest concern amongst residents was Heathrow followed by crime. "But is crime an issue or a perception?" she asked.

Superintendent Simon Phipps said that overall crime is down across the borough, "It’s the lowest it’s been since 1995 only burglaries are on the up." He spoke about the impact that drugs have on burglary, vehicle crime and robbery. "These crimes are carried out by people with an immediate need for money." he explained.

"Traditionally Chiswick had the worst problem in the Borough but after successful initiatives the problems moved over to the Heston / Cranford area but recently it’s moving back. We realised that we needed to focus on the dealers. When we get rid of the dealers, the burglaries go down. It's the same with vehicle crime. Again Chiswick also has highest levels in the borough although street crime occurs mainly in West of borough.

"Every time we arrest someone they are tested for drugs. Recent figures showed that half of those arrested tested positive for drugs which meant we had the second highest figures in London. But we also have one of the best Drugs Centres. I can put as officers on the streets as possible, but it won’t make a difference. You must deal with drugs that’s the problem.”

Chris Grayling MP followed Spt Phipps to speak about the Future of Policing. He said that although he had only held the post of Shadow Home Secretary for four months, he was aware that there are four main issues that need to be dealt with.

The first issue is low level crime such as broken wing mirrors, anti social behaviour and graffiti that impacts the quality of life for many residents. "We must focus efforts on stamping out antisocial behaviour and show that we have zero tolerance. But we need to catch them on their first crime not their 20th.

"Police need the ability to take swift action, but the tools to do this just isn’t there. An ASBO can take up to six months with many services involved what we need is a 21st century equivalent of a clip around the ear."

He went onto to talk about ending the 'caution culture' "We’ve imposed a target culture on our Police which means that giving an offender a caution is easier on their paperwork, this isn't right."

The other two points he raised were dealing with licensing laws and changes in how Police are managed. "There's too much paperwork and not enough Policing."

Residents were given the opportunity to ask questions of the panel which included anti-social behaviour, projects to get young people off the streets and doing something constructive and response times by local Police.

March 26, 2009