|Police Inform Packed Crime Meeting Of Five Robbery Arrests|
Reassurance offered to concerned residents after spate of muggings
A packed meeting of 300 local residents from across west and south Ealing came to the Ealing Christian Centre on Northfields Avenue this Wednesday evening (10 April) to express their alarm at the recent robberies and muggings of young people in and around Lammas and Walpole Parks.
Ealing MP's Virendra Sharma and Rupa Huq as well as Councillors from both Walpole ( Cllr Shaw) and Northfields (Cllrs Block, Driscoll and Millican) were also in attendance. Local mum and Ealing Central Acton MP, Rupa Huq, expressed her fears and highlighted police and council budget cuts.
The lay chair of the Northfields Ward Police Panel, James Guest, chaired the meeting and expressed severe concerns about the level of police presence, and encouraged all to sign up to the on-line neighbourhood watch scheme, OWL as the best way of sharing information around the community and with the police
The meeting heard from the police that there had been 16 linked robberies since 16 February. Whilst their investigations are ongoing the police told the meeting that five individuals had been arrested and appeared to be linked to all the related robberies. Whilst the police were not able to say where these suspects lived, the meeting was told that none lived in the immediate locality. Many asked whether CCTV could be introduced and Paul Murphy, Ealing Council's Community Safety Manager committed that CCTV would be installed at the entrances to Lammas Park
Sergeant James Lenton, of Ealing's Met Police Safer Neighbourhood team explained that there would be a higher public presence of uniformed officers in the parks over the Easter school holidays and they worked with the Council's ParkGuard who would step up their patrols. There were several calls from residents for more police to be recruited and it was revealed after the meeting that 160 more probationary police officers are being brought into the borough at the rate of 20 a month.
PC Steve Ward of Northfields Neighbourhood Police encouraged all to have their mobile phones secure and hidden and to consider not using earphones, so that they could be more aware of what was going on around. Several residents recommended carrying alarms, whose screeching noise might scare off assailants.
A number of people said they were minded to set up vigilante-style patrols in the park. The police said that the public should dial 999 in the first instance and that it was up to individuals whether they set up such patrols, but this was not recommended.
The temperature of the meeting was calmed by one eloquent 13-year old boy who told the meeting not to shout at each other and at the police. He said that, at his school, they would never disrupt a class and residents should treat the police the same as he would treat his teachers.
Councillor David Millican who represents Northfields Ward, summarised by thanking the police for making the five arrests. He told the Ealing Council Community Safety Manager that he would be chasing him up to ensure that the promised CCTV is installed promptly at the entrances to Lammas Park. Cllr Millican repeated the chair from James Guest for residents to join the Police's OWL on-line Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
A further meeting of police/ council and elected representatives to discuss the concerns raised will be taking place on Friday 12th April.
April 12, 2019 ( updatd)