Camden’s rules on security gates makes Hampstead homes easy target for crime

Criminals target Hampstead

Criminals target Hampstead - Credit: Getty Images

A security expert claims Camden Council’s planning guidelines are making Hampstead an easy target for criminals.

The security guard, one of several private firms hired by residents to patrol properties in the area, told a crime meeting on Tuesday that residents should petition the council and urge it to change the guidelines.

He said: “Part of the reason it’s easy to commit crime in the area is because the planning restrictions from Camden Council stop people from putting up fences and gates which are above six-foot high because it changes the aesthetic appearance of the area.

“So you have big houses with expensive cars in open drives. It’s not just about having a greater police presence. Its about making it harder to commit crime with better security measures as a deterrent.”

The expert told the Frognal and Fitzjohns Safer Neighbourhoods Panel said that security firms hired by wealthy individuals in the area do also pass on information to the police. “The other side of this is that all residents benefit as a result,” he said

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who chairs the panel, said: “There is a tension between maintaining the natural beauty of Hampstead and safeguarding residents.”

She encouraged residents first to consider other deterrents such as installing CCTV and even hiring private security.

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She said: “Unfortunately private security is becoming increasingly necessary, as the police are forced to make £400million cuts and we are seeing PCSOs being taken away from the area.”

During the meeting, which was also attended by new area sergeant Ailsa Naish, Ms Learmond-Criqui asked for the police to make promises including increasing patrols around schools during pick-up times and to clamp down on stolen mopeds which are then used for crime.

Residents were also warned to watch out for fake meter readers operating in the area, after reports of a man of Eastern European description turning up at doors asking to read meters and becoming “very forceful” when he was refused entry.