'We need more neighbourhood police in Hampstead to keep women safe'

Police have charged a man with murder following a fatal assault in Goresbrook Road, Dagenham, on Fri

Police have charged a man with murder following a fatal assault in Goresbrook Road, Dagenham, on Friday July 23. Picture: Met Police - Credit: MPS

The chair of a Hampstead crime group has said she would like to see more safer neighbourhood officers in NW3, helping women to feel safe and deterring burglars in the run-up to Christmas.

A new Camden Town centre team (CTCT) made up of an inspector, three sergeants and 21 constables has been deployed to fight crime in the neighbourhood including around the Lock. Its top three priorities are tackling violence against women and girls, robbery and drugs.

However Susan West, who chairs the Hampstead Town Safer Neighbourhoods Panel, said she wants to see more officers deployed further north in the borough. 

"At the last Safer Neighbourhood Panel meeting we were told that the Camden night-time police team had been disbanded and the gap would be filled by taking safer neighbourhood team (SNT) ward officers from, for example, Hampstead and having them on an almost permanent late shift in Camden Town.

"SNT officers from Hampstead and other wards are effectively not available to do their normal ‘day job’ in their own wards as they are back-filling at night in Camden Town.

"I would like to see our safer neighbourhood officers back in Hampstead playing their part in helping women to feel safe and deterring burglars in the run-up to Christmas."

Nicky O'Hara, sergeant for Hampstead and Highgate, said previously disbanded neighbourhood officers will be able to return to their wards.

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"There was a night-time economy team in place at the beginning of the year but the team was disbanded so the policing of the Camden Town night-time economy fell to neighbourhood officers.

"The new Camden Town centre teams are now in place so the neighbourhood officers are able to tackle late-night problems on their own wards."

Insp Paul Beckley said: "The Camden night time economy team was fully funded by local businesses which, unsurprisingly, came to an end during Covid.

"Following the lockdown release, earlier in the summer, there was a period when officers from local wards extended their patrols to Camden Town on Friday and Saturday nights.

"This has now come to an end with the creation of the CTCT which now polices the night-time economy with the help of special constables, who volunteer their time during peak periods of demand. Ward officers are not affected."