A demo calling outside our Town Hall calling upon the Council to withdraw from the Tri-Borough Merger took place last night. It was organised by Trev Robinson from the Facebook page “Havering Safe Streets” and Lorraine Moss and Jan Sargent from the newly formed Harold Hill Independent Party.
Organisers were reacting to the failure of the new set-up to allow police officers in the Response Teams to reach the scene of significant and emergency incidents in an acceptable time.
Residents turned up in numbers to protest the news that these Police response times were the worst in London, and called upon the Leader of the Council, who initially supported the merger, to withdraw Havering from the pilot Tri-borough merger (TBM) of three Police forces (Havering, Barking & Dagenham and Redbridge).
Lorraine Moss (Officer of the new Harold Hill Independent Party) said "I was delighted with the turn-out from residents at short notice to complain about a very serious matter, namely the safety and security of residents of Havering". She added "The Leader of the Council (Roger Ramsey) got us into this mess by agreeing to be a part of this pilot and he needs to get us out of it!".
South Hornchurch Councillor Graham Williamson joined the protestors and said "The Independent Residents Group opposed this merger from the very beginning because we knew that covering the much wider area of three boroughs would hinder rather than help our Police. Sadly we have been proved right. We say enough is enough, we must withdraw!"
In response to a later IRG question at the full Council meeting the Leader of the Council admitted that the whole merger needed to be looked at again as the present failures, including the loss of Dedicated Ward Officers (DWO's) was serious.
The merger took place as a cost-cutting exercise, initiated by the Mayor, as they hoped to streamline staff. Unfortunately, the coverage of a much wider area has stretched Police resources beyond their capacity and hence the failures. It has come at a particularly bad time with the spike in moped crime which may have become more focused in the new East Basic Command Unit (BCU) area precisely due to the poor Police responses.
Rather than abandoning a dysfunctional structure (presumably because the Mayor/MET are loath to admit failure) the Police are attempting to hold the line by a) reverting the communication structure back to the three local boroughs (still however using the same cross-borough Response Teams),
b) reduce four Havering wards Safe Neighbourhood Teams (SNT's) by one 'Dedicated' ward officer (DWO's) each.
c) calling upon DWO's to operate outside their wards, as and when, which means a ward could be left partially or totally uncovered at any one time. Havering was that DWO's would be ring-fenced and this is being broken.
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--