IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Police chief quizzed on knife crime

Knife crime and youths among top­ics

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

HILLING­DON res­i­dents were given the chance to grill their police com­mis­sioner when Sir Bernard Ho­gan-Howe vis­ited the bor­ough to talk crime and polic­ing.

Around 160 peo­ple crowded into the Civic Cen­tre, in Uxbridge High Street, on Wed­nes­day last week, to hear from the com­mis­sioner and to put ques­tions to the head of London’s police.

Dur­ing the hour-long meet­ing, Sir Bernard heard res­i­dents’ con­cerns about fund­ing for men­tal health care, youth crime and stab­bings across the cap­i­tal.

Dur­ing the ques­tion and an­swer pe­riod of the meet­ing, one mem­ber of the pub­lic said: “I think we’re more wor­ried about crime re­lat­ing to youths.

“There’s a miss­ing link be­tween the police, the par­ents and the youths.”

Sir Bernard said that any­one who does work with the police and young peo­ple is ‘al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated’.

He added: “There’s no doubt at times its more dif­fi­cult for the police to work with young peo­ple.

“We try to get as many ded­i­cated police of­fi­cers into the schools as pos­si­ble.”

The Met chief also pre­sented crime sta­tis­tics for the whole of London and com­pared them with fig­ures for Hilling­don.

Sta­tis­tics com­par­ing Au­gust 2014/15 with the same pe­riod in 2015/16 showed that across London all recorded crime had risen by 3.6 per cent, while in Hilling­don it had risen only 1.5 per cent, or the equiv­a­lent of 330 of­fences.

Res­i­den­tial bur­glar­ies have dropped by 23.9 per cent with 430 fewer of­fences be­ing recorded in Hilling­don.

But vi­o­lence with in­jury has risen by 2.9 per cent, with 69 more of­fences be­ing recorded.

A mem­ber of the pub­lic also raised con­cerns about the num­ber of stab­bings on London streets.

They said: “I wanted to ask about knife crime. When I look at the news it looks like an in­crease in

There’s no doubt at times it’s more dif­fi­cult for the police to work with young peo­ple”

knife crime. Are the num­bers go­ing up as it would ap­pear from TV?”

There have been two stab­bings in Hilling­don in Au­gust alone.

An 18-year-old died ear­lier this month af­ter be­ing stabbed in Hayes and a man in his 20s was crit­i­cally in­jured af­ter be­ing stabbed in Uxbridge High Street.

Sir Bernard said: “[Across London] we did see an in­crease in knife crime. We were wor­ried about it.

“We con­cen­trated on the gangs. You do have some gangs [in this area] but not as bad as some ar­eas. There are too many peo­ple stabbed.”

He added that part of the rea­son for the in­crease was due to of­fi­cers car­ry­ing out fewer ‘stop and searches’, but that num­bers had re­cently dropped again.

n CRIME TALK: Police Com­mis­sioner Sir Bernard Ho­gan-Howe was grilled by res­i­dents

n QUES­TION TIME: (From left) Chair­man of the meet­ing David Brough, Sir Bernard and act­ing bor­ough com­man­der Colin Win­grove

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