Sunday, July 06, 2008

Kensington crime and policing

There has been a big focus this week on crime and policing in Kensington.

On Monday night the Chief Constable, Bernard Hogan-Howe, held a public meeting in Kensington Fields at Sacred Heart school. There were about 30 members of the public and about a dozen police officers. He gave a short presentation about the different police operations that have been carried out in the area over the last year and then took questions from the floor. There was a lot of focus on the ASB and the big groups of kids, drinking underage, at nights in Pythian Park (Fielding Street public open space as it is officially called) and he has promised to give extra resources to resolving it.

The day before, on Sunday there had been a shooting on Kensington, someone was shot at home in a targetted attack, although not seriously wounded. Then later in the week there were two further shootings, one in Edinburgh Road and one at the Weighing Machine pub on Wavertree Road. Both were targetted and neither fatal - leg and foot wounds. By Thursday Kensington was at the very top of the Chief Constable's agenda and he put an operation together to massively intensify the policing in the area.

They are pretty sure that all three shootings have been carried out by one person and that they know who it was, and now they have to find the guy.

So there have been Matrix teams, vans, dogs, cars, extra foot patrols, something like 60 extra police in Kensington from across Merseyside.

On Thursday alone they carried out 150 stop and searches and made 11 arrests.

It seems to me that Kensington must conversely be a very safe place at the moment, while they are on every corner. It would be a very foolish criminal who chose this week to deal drugs or try to burgle anyone, let alone carry a gun on the streets. The police have been keeping me informed about progress and are working very closely with the community, acting on intelligence and tip-offs.

I was interviewed on City Talk, telling local people that despite the shootings, they should not feel that they needed to barricade themselves into their own homes in fear. The reporter kept asking me about the chances of innocent people getting caught in cross-fire, it was almost as though she wanted it to be the case, but the police have been very clear that the victims were known to the shooter and had been targetted deliberately. It does nobody any good to stir up fear and trepidation in a neighbourhood.

I have every faith in Inspector Charnock and his team and supported by such a big operation they will soon have this man in prison.

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