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West Hampstead community meeting: Police ask locals to work with them to tackle rising crime

PUBLISHED: 17:05 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:58 07 December 2018

Members of the public debating strategies to tackle crime at the Sherriff Centre, West Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock

Members of the public debating strategies to tackle crime at the Sherriff Centre, West Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Fears of rising knife crime dominated a community meeting held in West Hampstead last night, while local police called on vigilant locals to help them do their jobs by making sure to report crime.

DCI Dave Courcha, Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden's community services director Jessica Gibbons, Cllr Nazma Rahman, Cllr Lorna Russell, Cllr Richard Olszewski and Cllr Peter Taheri at the West Hampstead community meeting. Picture: Polly HancockDCI Dave Courcha, Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden's community services director Jessica Gibbons, Cllr Nazma Rahman, Cllr Lorna Russell, Cllr Richard Olszewski and Cllr Peter Taheri at the West Hampstead community meeting. Picture: Polly Hancock

At the event – organised by West Hampstead councillor Peter Taheri after the area was hit by two stabbings in less than two weeks this autumn – local police and council officers discussed residents’ worries ranging from gangs and drug dealing to a perceived rise in ‘artifice crime’.

This is when criminals use deception to convice someone to allow them into their home.

Concerned members of the community raised the issue of drugs driving crime in West Hampstead at the meeting held at the Sherriff Centre on Sherriff Road, and in response neighbourhood PC Jim Craig told the meeting: “What appears to be the case is that drug dealers come up to local estates at night time. What we need residents to do is to get registration numbers so we can take action.

“Without residents’ help it’s hard to do our job. Consider adjusting CCTV so it looks onto the street, for example.”

Cllr Peter Taheri (centre) talks with West Hampstead resident Paul Mata and Camden Council officers at the West Hampstead Community Conversation Event. Picture: Polly HancockCllr Peter Taheri (centre) talks with West Hampstead resident Paul Mata and Camden Council officers at the West Hampstead Community Conversation Event. Picture: Polly Hancock

Community representatives also spoke about the importance of both emphasising the youth safety work already being done in the borough, and improving on it.

One man added: “We talked about what we can do to stop young people hurting each other. We know work is being done, but often the people who would benefit are not hearing about it.”

Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden’s cabinet member for young people and community, assured attendees the meeting would have tangible results..

He said: “We will show you outcomes. For me it’s very important to have meetings like this. We have got to make sure that we take these things forward.”

Meanwhile, former Lib Dem councillor Nancy Jirira told this newspaper at the event: “Things are reactive, not proactive. We are like a rabbit in bright lights.

“The scale of this problem is not getting the response it needs.”

Cllr Taheri and Cllr Lorna Russell (Lab, Fortune Green) organised the meeting after two teenagers were stabbed, one in Iverson Road on October 29 and another in Billy Fury Way on November 6.

A sixteen-year-old boy has been charged with GBH in relation to the second incident, he will go on trial in April. No-one has yet been charged over the first.

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