More uniformed wardens to patrol borough parks and estates
Borough Parks Police to be merged into new enforcement team
Parks and neighbourhoods in Hammersmith and Fulham will get regular patrols from uniformed wardens and officers, the council has said.
The officers will form part of a 72-strong Neighbourhood Enforcement Team (NET).
This new team will effectively be a merger and expansion of existing officer teams, such as neighbourhood wardens, parks police, street scene officers and highways enforcement officers.
A report by the council said the plans would see “uniformed officers patrolling every street and housing estate in the borough”.
The council has said it will spend an extra £1.6 million on creating the new team – up from £3 million – which will last until the end of the 2021/22 financial year.
The 72 officers will be an increase from the 40 currently employed by the council. It means there will be a “dedicated neighbourhood enforcement officer” for every ward in the borough, who will work alongside the Met Police’s own ward officers.
Announcing the policy at a virtual town hall meeting on December 7, council leader, Stephen Cowan said: “We’re determined in Hammersmith and Fulham, as a number one priority, to tackle crime and the causes of crime.
“Many people, particularly those who are disenfranchised in society, suffer crime. We have seen huge cuts to the police, and crime has been on the march for some time.
“What this allows us to do is to set up the biggest council reaction to that.”
Cabinet member for the environment, councillor Wesley Harcourt, said: “What it does is merge teams from across a number of areas like the neighbourhood wardens, the parks police and street scene enforcement, markets, licensing, are all going to be part of this team…
“It really is very very good news. It’s going to mean more frequent patrols in parks, for instance. And each ward is going to have dedicated enforcement officers to undertake patrols, meet with residents, and so on.”
The announcement comes after the Labour-run council announced at the start of the year that it would create a Gang Violence and Exploitation Unit, or “Gangs Unit”.
The Gangs Unit will be run with the help of former police borough commander Gideon Springer, who is now the council’s head of safe streets.
It will see an increase in dedicated police officers deployed in Hammersmith and Fulham, as well as an investment in CCTV.
Both the Gangs Unit and the Neighbourhood Enforcement Team will be paid for using section 106 money – funds paid to the council by companies behind large property developments who have been given planning permission.
Mr Cowan added: “This is a huge amount of money to spend while councils are under huge financial pressure… But I can tell you, when you meet the victims of crimes it’s simply a no-brainer.”
Owen Sheppard - Local Democracy Reporters
December 11, 2020