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A message from Cllr Lisa Rajan, Surrey Docks Ward

Dear All,

Please feel free to circulate to anyone who may be interested - just thought I would update all interested local residents on how the Joint Initiatives between the police and various departments of Southwark Council are progressing. As you may know, after the deplorable attack on a young man in Russia Dock Woodland, local councillors and the Council's Executive Member for Community Safety, Richard Porter, called an urgent meeting to address the escalation in youth crime and antisocial behaviour in the area. You may recall me giving you an update about a month ago on measures being taken, including ring-fencing beat officers in Rotherhithe, more patrol officers on the peninsula during their "downtime", the PSCOs coming onstream, and a beefed-up police presence over Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Southwark Council and the Police are working very closely together on this, and are in the process of strengthening their joint approaches. We had another meeting last night, with Supt Chris Allen, Cllr Porter, David Hubber, Gavin O'Brien, myself, the Youth Offending Team (YOT), Southwark Antisocial Behaviour Unit (SASBU) and Southwark's Director of Environment, among others.

The following actions were discussed:

1) The mobile police station has been deployed in Russia Dock Woodland and at other locations on the peninsula - this will continue as often as is possible to do so - there are obviously demands on its availability from other areas of Southwark.

2) The Youth Offending Team were able to engage groups of young people actually at the mobile police station and conduct outreach work with them. The YOT has also done a trawl of all the young people known to them in the Rotherhithe area and are conducting more outreach work, including outside Rotherhithe library, where numbers of youth are gathering. The YOT are setting up a "Mad About Football" scheme and already have at least 20 kids signed up. They are also working on a motorbike maintenance scheme with Ilderton Road to teach kids mechanic skills and engage them positively. The are in the process of producing a flyer to publicise and promote this scheme.

3) Letters reminding tenants of their obligations regarding antisocial behaviour have been drafted and will go out from Housing Associations.

4) Police, YOT, the Env Dept and SASBU are all consolidating efforts to gather intelligence on troublemakers and perpetrators. This will hopefully lead to more identifications and give the police more power to their elbow.

5) The mobile CCTV has not yet been deployed due to a necessary update of the system control room. Exact date of deployment still to be clarified, but is expected to be mid-December. Four cameras will be secured in the woodland. Ward councillors have advised the Council of where the hotspots are, but if residents would also like to contribute useful suggestions on siting, please let me know.

6) YOT are deploying offenders to collect litter, repair criminal damage and remove graffiti - there is a reparations scheme in place that is working well. This is being done in Rotherhithe and is being expanded throughout the borough. Where possible the offence is linked to the reparations, and each offender is also attached to a mentor to try to change their behaviour and deter reoffending. Reparations are also intended to give the offender a sense of their community and the effects of their bad behaviour on local residents. Cllr Hubber pointed out that it was important that the community was aware that this sort of reparation work was going on, and ways of publicising this are being looked into.

7) Rotherhithe wardens - councillors are hopeful that the recruitment and training can begin before the next financial year, so that neighbourhood wardens are ready to hit the streets in April (rather than training starting in April, with a subsequent delay until the wardens are ready). We are expecting to have 12 Rotherhithe wardens. The Council has requested a proposal on exactly where the wardens are deployed, and ward councillors have emphasised that they should concentrate efforts around hotspots for maximum effect.

8) Results: Four youths have been charged after forcing entry into the Youth Hostel. They were caught on camera during a SASBU surveillance operation. A similar operation led to arrests when a man was attacked at a bus stop by a group of youths. 16 youths from the Bury Close area have been identified via surveillance, as have 5 youths in the Greenland Dock area. Four street robbers were arrested in Greenland Quay this month. Councillors have requested that surveillance continue on the peninsula, particularly around the Greenland Dock area.

9) SASBU are meeting with South London Family Housing Association and Hexagon to boost their relationship and work closer together on antisocial behaviour from tenants.

10) Cross-border meetings with equivalent agencies in Lewisham are also going on to share information and coordinate approaches for both boroughs, as local troublemakers do not observe borough boundaries.

11) Five PSCOs are now on the streets. The Rotherhithe sector team now has 9 officers in total, including 4 dedicated to the peninsula.

The good work continues and we will report back after the next Joint Initiative meeting, probably in January. Residents may already be aware of the 25% reduction in crime in Rotherhithe, but please be assured that Cllrs Hubber, O'Brien and myself will continue to liaise with all the relevant parties to keep up the fight against youth crime and antisocial behaviour in the area.


Best regards,
Lisa Rajan
Cllr, Surrey Docks ward