On 24 October Norwood Forum organised the West Norwood Community Safety & Crime Reduction Planning Meeting attended by the police, local councillors and various local groups.
The last public consultation on community safety was over a decade ago and the meeting set out to start the process of creating a network of safety partnerships and projects to serve the communities of West Norwood and improving communications between the various groups.
The main discussion points were:
- Reported crime across Lambeth is static but violent crime is increasing with known pockets on problem estates.
- The current noise reporting processes are not working. There are too many calls, with no filtering for priority, than officers can realistically handle. From the end of November a new service (akin to the old one) will run from Thursday to Sunday (when most noise complaints are made) with four council officers. The number to call is 020 7926 5000 (normal office hours) or report online here.
- Effective action requires co-operation across police, council, hospitals and mental health. The council is funding four extra police officers to work with the Council to address vice issues and will also be funding mental health training for police officers.
- The main local channel of communication is the meetings of the local Safer Neighbourhood Partnerships. These should be attended by both a Councillor and a Council officer. Recently most have been attended only by a local Councillor.
- The merger of Lambeth and Southwark police commands will enable an expansion of schools liaison activities, including with primary schools.
- Communication needs to be improved. Local residents and businesses do not know what is happening, who is doing what or who is responsible for what. Councillors, council officers, police and community activists suffer serious meeting overload. Calls for more representatives at existing meetings have little support. Calls for additional meetings which do directly address the shared objectives of the participants have none.
- Many problems relate to specific families and a pilot project to address these is running in Streatham.
- Brixton Business Improvement District pays for two police officers to patrol the High Street two or three times a day.
- Youth activities, for example a boxing club supported by the Fire Service, which should be better publicised and supported.
Philip Virgo, Norwood Forum committee member, will be coordinating the campaign to make West Norwood a safer place, beginning by identifying ways of improving communication or what is already happening or planned. He is looking for ideas and volunteers to assist. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the meeting report and an invitation to participate.