Concerns over local policing

Survey results show officers in Waltham Forest among least well regarded, reports James Cracknell

A local police chief has defended the performance of officers in Waltham Forest after new data showed they were among the least well perceived in London.

Survey data compiled by the Greater London Authority compared perceptions of policing across the capital. In Walthamstow, just 60% of people said local police could be “relied on to be there”, 52% said they trusted police to “deal with issues”, 56% said they “listened to concerns”, and 50% said they were “doing a good job”.

These were respectively the worst, second-worst, third-worst and fourth-worst percentages across the whole of London. While Chingford and Leyton and Leytonstone were rated higher for these indicators, they still scored below average, and both were among the ten worst areas ranked for police who “listened to concerns”.

These poor performances led the Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhoods Board to put a series of questions to the borough commander, Superintendent Richard Tucker, in February. He said he had instructed neighbourhood officers to draw up a ‘community pledge’ that “concentrates our efforts on the matters that most affect community perceptions of safety” – although he acknowledged that since the Waltham Forest and Newham policing teams had merged, the number of community police officers had fallen.

Chingford Police Station
Chingford Police Station, now the only place in Waltham Forest where a crime can be reported in person

Chief Inspector Matthew Casey, who leads neighbourhood policing teams in Waltham Forest, said: “Policing by consent is the guiding principle for all Met officers, and it is therefore important that the Met gains the confidence and trust of people who live, work and visit the capital.

“We are working hard to better engage with communities, and reduce crime. In Waltham Forest, now part of the North East Basic Command Unit (BCU), we have been focusing our efforts on tackling violent crime and anti-social behaviour.

“Operation Langdale, launched with the local authority in October 2018, has led to a drop in violent offences following a series of proactive operations.

“We hold regular community drop-in meetings to keep local people informed about the policing issues that matter to them. Local police are also accountable to the Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhoods Board. We will continue to work closely with partners to improve community safety.”

For more information about policing in Waltham Forest:
Visit met.police.uk/a/your-area/met/waltham-forest