Charles Kennedy MP, the Liberal Democrat leader, spent last Friday (18th February) afternoon visiting the South Acton estate to speak to the Safer Neighbourhoods police team and a group of Acton residents.
He then went on a walkabout around part of the estate and met residents in a question and answer meeting. He visited a building where recently Ealing Police had recovered a large haul of cocaine. He said, “The crime figures have shown that on the South Acton estate the community police have done an excellent job at reducing crime levels. It’s not rocket science! Community police teams cut out the middle-man of a busy police call-centre.”
During the meeting he pledged that the Lib Dems would recruit 10,000 more police, which would lead to larger community policing teams (4 police plus four other officers - either constables, community support officers or neighbourhood wardens). The current situation is to finance only a team of three police plus three other officers. The Liberal Democrats claim that the Mayor may no longer be able to fund his promise of a Safer Neighbourhood Team in each ward.
Cllr Gary Malcolm, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, said: “Locally there is much fear of crime that can be dealt with by community police teams. Because it is very difficult to get through to the police, having a community officer’s mobile number it means response times are quicker.”
He added that the Lib Dems would set up community police teams across the whole borough including his own ward of Southfield which covers areas like Acton Green and Bedford Park. He said, " The community teams have worked in South Acton but I wish to see them in Southfield as well."
There is local concern that areas adjacent to wards in which there is a Safer Neighbourhood team may experience some displacement of crime.
February 14th, 2004