A Personal Encounter with Crime and Pop-up Police Hubs

Chiswick Gunnersbury councillor Ron Mushiso reports back

Cllr Mushiso with two local police officers

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September 3, 2023

We must do everything in our powers to keep Chiswick safe. The surge in shoplifting, burglaries and theft from motor vehicles has become normalised. Victims feel powerless and they feel unable to prevent the inevitable. Crime seems to be everywhere and yet, there seems to be very little in the way of protection and reassurance. It is up to all of us as community leaders to work towards a solution.

A recent report on the BBC revealed that 82% of burglaries in London to the year ending June 2023 went unsolved. That translates to nearly 50,000 cases. Shoplifting went up by 21% in the same period. The total number of thefts from and of vehicles was recorded at 31,017; a jumped of 28% from the previous year. Staggeringly, 87.2% of motor vehicle theft were unsolved.

We seem to be allowing London to become a city of crime. Earlier this year, I spoke with a security guard from the Lidl Store on Uxbridge Road after witnessing a homeless woman with her partner walk out with two large bags, full of meat. The guard told me that it happened regularly, and that the police never show up; even though the two thieves are well known. He explained that he would only confront them if they took alcohol!

In July, I found myself having a similar conversation with the security guard at Mark and Spencer’s on Chiswick High Road. He disclosed to me that he knew all the regular shoplifters who frequented the store. What was more unsettling to him was that the items being stolen in the store were often being resold on to another trader for cash to feed a drug habit.

Just this week on Tuesday, I walked into a crime scene as it was taking place. It happened on Oxford Road North, just off Chiswick High Road. The owner of the car was returning from a nature break at the Clayton Hotel, when I heard a loud bang as the rear passenger side window of her car was smashed in, setting off the alarm. At first, through the commotion, I thought there had been car accident.

It took another 15-20 seconds to realise what had just happened. It dawned on me that the young person who had sped past me on an electric scooter moments earlier, was the culprit. I caught a sight of him again in in the distance as he turned right on Wellesley Road and disappeared.

The victim was a middle-aged businesswoman; visibly shaken by ordeal. After spending the next hour and half checking on her and speaking with the police, she confided in me that she had thought Chiswick was an affluent area devoid of crime. I told that it never used to be this bad. It’s only recently that we have been perceived by criminals as a soft touch, but that we as community leaders were determined to change that narrative with or without the help of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Many people forget that the responsibility for policing in London lies squarely Mayor of London. Policing London should be his number one priority. The Metropolitan Police had a Central Government funded uplift recruitment programme to help tackle crime but still did not hit targets with police recruitment. In a recent interview for the Evening Standard, one of Mayor Khan’s Deputy for Policing attempted to explain why the Met Police were set to miss their recruitment target by nearly 2,000 officers. In a remarkable piece of manoeuvring, she told the Standard that the Mayor had not hit his targets because City Hall was focused on quality and not quantity! With this sort of thinking at City Hall, it is no wonder Councils like Hammersmith and Fulham are setting up their own teams. London Borough of Hounslow needs to urgently follow suit.

The ‘quality’ prerequisite seems like another excuse to add to his shield of the blame game that has won him two terms in office amidst the worst performance indicators of any London Mayor. On the Met Police Recruitment website, it states: “We are looking for people who share our values of respect, integrity, empathy, courage and accountability. And who share our high standards of behaviour.” London, with its population of over 8 million plus people is not devoid of people with these values and attributes.

It is hard not to come to the conclusion that crime is not the mayor’s number one priority. He is more likely to be found passionately defending the charge on motorists with his ULEZ cash grab than looking for ways to keep Londoners safe. If he had just focused a little less ULEZ (including a book launch) and little more recruiting Police officers, fighting crime and supporting victims of crime, our resident would feel safer.

My Priority as the London Assembly Member Candidate for South West London is to tackle crime. But I won’t wait until 2 May 2024: Chiswick need immediate action now.

We can start with an easy step. An initiative known as the Pop-Up Police Station. This was trialled in Waltham Forest last and it produced result. We can have a better version of this on our Highroad. A pop-up police hub has the added advantage of being movable to the area of high crime. It would allow for the Police and Council safer neighbourhood teams to operate directly from it, delivering maximum visibility to deterrent criminals.

We must also look to ourselves as a society. We must not allow our young people to lose their virtues. We must continue to educate our young people to know right from wrong. We must teach them about taking responsibility and respecting other people. We must encourage a sense of pride and belonging to the community. Our young people will look to us to settle the example.

Two weeks ago, I met a young man called Jason. He is a 16-year-old looking for work around the Feltham and Hampton area. What was remarkable about this young man was that he had stashed a bunch of CVs in his pocket, and was going shop to shop looking for work.

On Tuesday, before the incident I mentioned earlier, I met Denys, 20-year-old Ukrainian man who had been in touch looking to volunteer at the Chiswick Flower Market and Chiswick Clean Up. He also had a bunch of CVs in his bag looking for employment.

The common theme is that these two young people were taking responsibility and finding meaning and belonging through employment and volunteering. Yes, these are small examples, but it is the small things that make a big difference in a good society.

Ron Mushiso


07976 702887

Assembly Member Candidate for Southwest London


Chiswick: Every Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am at Chiswick Library (the eight Conservative councillors take this surgery in turn).

Gunnersbury: First Saturday of the month from 10am to 11am at The Gunnersbury Triangle Club, Triangle Way, off The Ridgeway, W3 8LU (at least one of the Chiswick Gunnersbury ward councillors takes this surgery). 


Chiswick Gunnersbury (was Turnham Green) ward

Cllr Joanna Biddolph joanna.biddolph@hounslow.gov.uk 07976 703446

Cllr Ranjit Gill ranjit.gill@hounslow.gov.uk 07976 702956

Cllr Ron Mushiso ron.mushiso@hounslow.gov.uk 07976 702887

Chiswick Homefields ward

Cllr Jack Emsley jack.emsley@hounslow.gov.uk 07977 396017

Cllr Gerald McGregor gerald.mcgregor@hounslow.gov.uk 07866 784821

Cllr John Todd john.todd@hounslow.gov.uk 07866 784651

Chiswick Riverside ward

Cllr Peter Thompson peter.thompson@hounslow.gov.uk 07977 395810  

Cllr Gabriella Giles gabriella.giles@hounslow.gov.uk 07966 270823 

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