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Meetings

Meeting Details

Ealing Safer Neighbourhood Board
11 Jan 2021 - 19:00 to 21:00
Occurred
  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Declarations of Interests
  • Visitors

Documents

Agenda

Blank
Standard Items
1 Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

Apologies were received from Cllr Camadoo-Rothwell and Annemarie Braganza-Hawkins.

2 Minutes

In relation to item 6, Peter Gardner, West Area BCU Commander informed the Board that LTNs did not cause any delays to police response times to calls.

Resolved that: the minutes of the meeting on 22nd October 2020 were a true and accurate record of proceedings.

4 Board Elections and Vacancies

Sara Kumar, Chair stated that some members’ tenures were due to expire and that she will inform those members of this by email or a phone call.

Sara Kumar reminded the Board that it had been 1 year since she was elected as Chair and that she was content to continue acting as Chair for another year. There were no objections.

Resolved that: Sara Kumar was re-elected as Chair for 1 year and she will contact members whose terms were due to expire soon to let them know the same.

5 Update from the Chair

Sara Kumar informed the Board that she attended an LCP2 meeting last year. At that meeting there were discussions around current issues affecting local communities and London wide.

Sara Kumar informed that Board that some of the key topics that came up at the LCP2 meeting were:

• Youth violence and that police were finding it difficult to communicate with young people, particularly young offenders.
• The Black Lives Matter movement and the protests that were taking place last year in London and across the world. There was discussion about minorities and opportunities within the Metropolitan Police Service.

Sara Kumar commented that it would be useful to have more young representatives on safer neighbourhood boards so that the police can have more engagement with young people and better understand youth crime. She asked Jess Murray, Head of Safer Communities and Residents Services, Ealing Council to find out if the Board can appoint a Youth Representative.

Resolved that: Jess Murray will enquire about appointing a Youth Representative.


6 Projects Update

John Martin, Vice Chair and Project Co-Ordinator stated that applications for community project funding were open.

Sara Kumar and John Martin both asked members to inform anyone requiring funding for a project aimed that reducing and/or preventing crime in Ealing to contact John Martin.

Resolved that: the Board noted the update.

7 Police Report

Peter Gardner provided an overview of performance over the last 12 months and the current response to Covid.

Peter Gardner reported that, over the last 12 months as of 10th January 2021:

• Overall offences decreased by 9%
• Robbery decreased by 33.5%
• Burglary decreased by 26%
• Violence with injury, non-domestic decreased by 16.2%

    o Within violence with injury: knife crime decreased by 26.5%; gang crime decreased by 9.5%; and under 25 knife injury victim decreased by 44%.


Peter Gardner reported on the areas where there was a slight increase in crime:

• Overall domestic abuse increased by 13.3%
• Violence with injury in a domestic setting increased by 10%
• Although rape decreased by 6%, other sexual offences such as indecent images increased by 3%.

Peter Gardner commented that the figures reflected the dynamic observed during the lockdown period. As there were more people at home and a decline in footfall, there were fewer robberies, burglaries and violent crimes.

Peter Garner also reported that there were significant developments over the last 12 months within the BCU which had also contributed to the reduced crime. The following Police Teams helped in decreasing crime:

• Burglary and Robbery team,
• Violence Suppression Unit
• Predatory Offender Unit
• Neighbourhood Tasking Team

Peter Gardner commented that the increase in domestic abuse was in line with their expectation and that they worked with the Council, particularly Adult and Children Services to ensure they were well prepared for the anticipated increase in demand.

Peter Garner reported that there were a number of domestic homicides, including cases involving children.

Resolved that: the Board noted the report.

 

8 Covid-19 Update from Police

Peter Gardner reported on the Covid response:

• For the first lockdown they had excess capacity compared to demand and so they were able to work on hard to reach prisoners and outstanding suspects. They made the most arrests during this time than any other time.

• For the second and third lockdowns there were challenges due to fewer officers. In the worst areas, officer numbers were 19-23%% lower because officers were either isolating through the track and trace or they contracted Covid.

• They were still able to deliver on their minimum strength on a day to day basis but this involved asking officers to cancel their leave at short notice.

• They have a Covid Response Cause which is dedicated entirely to Covid cause, with officers from this unit patrolling high footfall areas and vaccination sites from 7:00am to 23:00pm.

• The patrol patterns of the Safer Neighbour Teams had changed so that officers patrol the high footfall areas such as shopping centres.

• Their Neighbourhood Tasking Team, which was set up at the end of summer 2020, supported their open space patrols within the violence suppression plan and they also looked at Covid enforcement within those areas.

• They moved some of their proactive CID units to support and enforce Covid legislation.

• They benefited from Pan-London PSU which provided additional support when required.

• Licensing Officers also carried out checks and visits to ensure premises were following Covid rules.

• There is a Daily Bronze Commander who can be contacted by the Council as the Council has a direct phone line.

• There had been some issues around Southall, particularly with some of the estates such as Bridge Road Trading Estates. They issued 56 FPNs in the week commencing 4th January 2021, to deal with these issues.

• They suspended the licenses of a number of venues in conjunction with the Council.

Peter Gardner stated that whilst they were under pressure due to increased demand and reduced officer numbers, they were working effectively with the Council to respond to Covid.


In response to questions by the Board:

• Jess Murray clarified that according to current legislation, religious venues can remain open. Communal worshiping and individual prayer is permitted. However, local authority leaders have requested religious venues to voluntarily close. He informed the Board that during the Faith Forum meetings, which occur every fortnight, the majority agreed that it was reasonable to ask religious venues to voluntarily close during this time. There are Covid steward that patrols the borough and they engage with religious premises in conjunction with the police. Jess Murray stated that any religious venues that remain open must be Covid secure.

• Peter Gardner commented that the police lack the legal framework to challenge any crowding around religious venues but they are able to enforce the rules set up under the Emergency Act. Outside of the Act, they encourage and negotiate but there is severe limitation with what can be done with religious premises without a legal framework.

Resolved that: the Board noted the update.

9 Robberies
To receive views from the police, focusing on Pitshanger and Ealing hotspots.

Leigh Ballard, Inspector and Community Officer updated the Board on robberies.

In relation to robberies he reported that, since the last meeting:

• There were problems in Old Southall and Pitshanger Lane in Ealing.

• There was a lot of focus on the robberies in Pitshanger Lane in Ealing, with school boys being targeted in the nearby park and in the side roads.

• The Safer Neighbourhood Team and Leigh Ballard’s own team sent out uniformed and non-uniformed officers to patrol Pitshanger Lane. The officers caught two of the robbers in action. The robbers were school aged boys and they were charged with 14 robberies between them. Since both boys were caught and charged, the robberies disappeared from Pitshanger Lane.

• There were two outstanding crimes in Pitshanger Lane. Firstly, there was an instance where a young victim that seemed to be known to the group that attacked him understandably did not want to provide the police with any information. Secondly, there was criminal damage in Pitshanger Lane and officers have recovered private CCTV. They were working on identifying the suspects.


The Board thanked the police for their hard work.


In response to questions:

• Peter Gardner stated that they must balance demand with resources and prioritise violent offences. There are not enough officers to respond immediately to every call and generally if a victim is not harmed then they cannot immediately dispatch officers to the site.

• Peter Gardner stated that if there is no CCTV and the stolen item is of minor value then generally there is no opportunity for officers to investigate pickpocketing. He explained that officers cannot prioritise pickpocketing unless the suspect is violent and/or the victim is vulnerable. He informed the Board that pickpocketing is usually committed by an organised group rather than individuals. Therefore, officers usually work on identifying and prosecuting known groups operating in an area.

• Peter Gardner confirmed that intelligence is captured and is received by a Tasking Team even if officers do not respond to it at the time. Intelligence Analysts look at data and search for patterns of crime.

• Leigh Ballard stated that he had not been aware of burglaries being committed using drones, however he will look out for such criminal activities and inform the Neighbourhood Team and Response Team.


Resolved that: the Board noted the update.

10 E-scooters
To receive views from the police on action taken, including safeguarding parks.

Leigh Ballard confirmed that the illegal use of e-scooters was a growing problem, nationally and across London.

He stated that:

• E-scooters can travel up to 40 mph and are classed as motor vehicles and therefore the user must make sure they have everything that is required to drive a car to be able to drive an e-scooter on the road, including a license, insurance and MOT.

• Private e-scooters are illegal to use on any public land, including on highways, pavements and any foot paths. They can be used on private land with the owner’s permission.

• The only legal way to use e-scooters on public land is through a hire company.

• Police give warnings to people using e-scooters illegally in the first instance but if users continually use e-scooters illegally then they seize the e-scooter and apply to the courts to fine the user and/or for disqualification from driving e-scooters.

• Officers first try to establish if the e-scooter is privately owned or leased from a hire company before they take any action.

• Some people had used e-scooters to escape from police after they commit a crime. This was because e-scooters were compact and portable and therefore easy to carry around and use to speedily leave after committing crimes.

• In the last 3 months, 25 e-scooters were seized and 2 users were arrested for driving whilst disqualified.


In response to questions by the board:

• Leigh Ballard stated that he was happy to discuss further on educating users on driving e-scooters responsibly, especially as there is a rise in delivery drivers using such vehicles.

• Leigh Ballard stated that educating and communicating with e-scooter users that caused problems was the most effective way of resolving issues. There had been an incident where a shop had 5-6 e-scooters parked in such a way that left little room on the pavement. After officers had spoken to the owner of the shop, the e-scooters were parked in a suitable location and the pavement could be used again.

• Peter Gardner stated that they targeted moped criminality under Operation Venice, reducing such criminality by over 80% using aggressive tactics. However, there was no such operation for e-scooters as there was a legal framework which was still being developed.

The Board commented that as there was a rise in e-scooter use, it would be useful to have more safe parking spaces for the vehicles so that they were not parked inappropriately.

Resolved that: the Board noted the information on e-scooters as provided by the police representatives.

11 Catalytic Converters
To consider what can be done to stop the trade, with views from the police.

Leigh Ballard informed the Board that:

• Catalytic converters can be disposed of in two ways, by shipping it abroad or by selling the expensive metals inside them to local scrapyards that take scrap metals. He commented that he does not have any proof that scrapyards are taking metals from stolen catalytic converters and therefore this was only a theory at this point.

• His sergeants go into the 3 scrapyards in Ealing and speak to the owners to find out what is happening within those businesses. He stated that every metal taken in by the scrap yards must be accounted for as they must take a note of the person they purchased the metal from and how much the business paid for it.

• In the last 3 months, 170 catalytic converters were recorded as stolen or damaged which is lower than in other boroughs. In some boroughs over 300 catalytic converters were stolen over the same period.

• The issue is uniform across the Ealing borough but there is a slight concentration in Acton.

• It is advisable to park cars under a streetlamp or an area covered by CCTV because it takes just 2 minutes to remove the catalytic converters and offences generally occur overnight.

• Catalytic converters are not identifiable to a particular car and therefore even if police recover stolen converters, it is difficult to identify the correct owner and victim.

• Catalytic converters are under the car and therefore it is also challenging to identify the suspects forensically because there is a great deal of dirt and water hitting that part of the car.

Peter Gardner informed the board that they are working with manufacturers to make catalytic converts more robust and harder to steal.

Jess Murray stated that there is a licensing process around scrap metal dealers which was implemented approximately four or five years ago. This process was implemented as a result of the government response to the issue of stolen catalytic converters. He commented that it is not difficult for people to work around the licensing restrictions and therefore more needs to be done to address this. The most effective method would be consumer pressure on car manufacturers to make it more difficult to steal catalytic converters as the design of these converters is the fundamental issue.

Resolved that: the Board noted the information provided by the police representatives.

12 Stop and Search Report

Leigh Ballard explained that he does not attend the Central Monitoring Stop and Search meetings and therefore he could not relay information from those meeting to the Board. He stated that he has access to some live documents which provide information relating to stop and searches.

Leigh Ballard reported that in Ealing:

• There were 11,564 stop and searches within the rolling year from January 2020 to December 2020.

• 78% of stop and searches were carried out for drugs within the rolling year from January 2020 to December 2020. He commented that this was as expected as drugs have an odour and the remnants of drugs can be seen on the floor which makes it easier for police to identify suspects carrying drugs.

• They aim for 20% positive outcomes for stop and searches. Over the last rolling year from January 2020 to December 2020, 21.8% of stop and searches led to a positive outcome. From the stop and searches carried out in this period: 1093 arrests were made; 334 penalty notices were issues; 194 postal requisitions, or summons, were made; 901 community resolutions were made; and the remaining resulted in no further action being taken.

Peter Gardner stated that:

• There have been some policy changes over the last 12 months in response to media attention to high profile stop and searches in Central London during which disproportionality was raised as a concern. The new changes were particularly around the use of force and specific details will be announced in due course.

• Stop and searches are an emotive subject as there is an infringement on liberty but at the same time they had recovered thousands of weapons from such stop and searches.

• Over the last few years there was a tendency for officers to use handcuffs during stop and searches due to perceived risk, for example if officers were stopping and searching a suspect as they believed they were carrying a knife then officers would handcuff the suspect as a precaution in case they did have a knife. The new policy will aim to address such a tendency as police officers now require greater justification around the use of force.

• There is a Central Task Force that is looking at disproportionality.

• There will be new training for officers in relation to stop and searches to better help officers de-escalate situations so that force is not required. There will be new camera technology that will record instantly instead of the current cameras that start recording 30 seconds after the stop and search starts.

• Officers need to know they can use force when they themselves perceive any threat, especially as it is appropriate at times. Reasonably use of force is based on perception of threat which is highly subjective. Often an officer’s perception of risk is higher than the general public viewing the incident because some officers have been seriously beaten up.

Resolved that: the Board noted the report.

13 Any Other Business

Jess Murray stated that:

• In November 2020 that there was a Council led closure of a shisha venue around the Park Royal area which had been causing problems by attracting crowds during this Covid pandemic. There was a court hearing on 30th December 2020 for the shisha venue and the court ordered that the venue is closed from 21:00 to 9:00 hours.

• He had visited a premise near Park Royal, two weeks before Christmas and that premise was issued a £10,000 fine for breaching Covid rules. The Council also served FPNs on that premise for the same reason.

• The Council is funding two Covid steward patrols who visited several premises, through the previous lockdown and during the most recent lockdown currently in place.

• Click and collect is causing challenges because many shisha businesses are perceived to be open because they allow customers to come in for their click and collect order, attracting crowds to the venues. Additionally, some shisha businesses allow customers to come inside and trade, which is specifically forbidden by the current lockdown rules.

• There are several instances of non-compliance by particular shisha businesses because the sale of shisha and tobacco is unregulated. However, the Council are working with the police to address this.

• Upon investigating some businesses, he discovered that they were using their premises to sell their products online. The staff were inside packing products for deliveries and therefore the businesses appeared to be open from the outside but they were closed to customers.

• The CRC informed all local authorities a few weeks ago that there will be no community payback during Covid but they are committed to taking it forward, even though it is paused at the moment.

14 Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held in public on 24 March 2021.

The next meeting will be held in public on 24 March 2021.

This meeting concluded at 20:55 hours.

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.

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