Community policing has made Gospel Oak a safer place

AT last week s open meeting, Gospel Oak Safer Neighbourhood Police team presented impressive and detailed evidence of two years hard work. Now fully staffed, in new, modern premises, GOSNT has reduced overall crime by 17.9 per cent in 2007. Key prioriti

AT last week's open meeting, Gospel Oak Safer Neighbourhood Police team presented impressive and detailed evidence of two years' hard work.

Now fully staffed, in new, modern premises, GOSNT has reduced overall crime by 17.9 per cent in 2007. Key priorities such as burglary, street drinking, anti-social behaviour, drug dealing and motor scooter nuisance have been tackled energetically and proactively with the active cooperation of local Tenants and Residents Associations, Camden Council agencies, ward councillors and local businesses.

PCs Simon Davidson and MarkHowell, who have served from the very start of the GOSN scheme, listed significant numbers of arrests and ASBOs secured, as well as ground-breaking work with the council housing department, as the main contributing factors in bringing the crime statistics dramatically down.

A recent action in closing down a crack house in Gospel Oak was taken to the High Court and is now enshrined in case law.


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Residents reported continuous improvements over the two years, and expressed confidence in the approachability and responsiveness of their SN team.

GOSN Sergeant Chris Downs was keen to highlight that, beyond law enforcement, the GOSN team is also deeply involved in positive community initiatives. For the third year there will be a five-a-side football tournament for local youth (April 19, Talacre), and other youth engagement strategies are being actively explored.

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PCSO Paul Tyrrell was able to reveal that in three months he had been able to launch seven new Neighbourhood Watch schemes, and to renew support for the four already in existence, and PCSO Rebecca Beale announced the launch of a fully sponsored series of dog-owners' classes on Hampstead Heath, led by experts, and aimed at promoting responsible dog ownership. She also outlined a new council policy whereby spot fines may be imposed on owners of dogs not in control.

As Chair of the Gospel Oak Citizens' Panel I am delighted to report the team's success, which is all their own work, but also to assure readers that, in our ward at least, this experiment in co-operation between the community and the police has now comprehensively proved itself to be the way forward for local policing.

Chris Fagg

Chair, GOSNP

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