On Thursday, 22 January, the Metropolitan Police Service stepped up its major drive to enhance relationships with the communities it serves with more than 3,000 officers leading a wide range of activities across London.
From hosting football matches and staging a public music event with schoolchildren, to attending faith groups and holding street briefings and crime prevention events, hundreds of activities were held as part of the Met’s Community Action Day – the third event of its kind taking place in all 32 boroughs.
Community Action Days create new opportunities for officers to speak to Londoners about the issues that matter most to people, share what they are doing to tackle crime and to discuss how they can solve problems together.
Officers from Havering held a number of events during the day, which included a ‘tweetathon’. Officers tweeted a total of 26 calls which were just some of the calls made to police during a 12 hour period. Most tweets were accompanied with either crime prevention advice, or a link to a site with further advice. The community provided lots of positive feedback and even asked if the borough would consider another tweetathon in the future.
Hornchurch Police Station was open to the public, allowing local residents the opportunity to see inside their local police station. Children and adults alike were given the opportunity to visit the cells, have their fingerprints taken, sit in a police car and turn on the blue lights. Crime prevention advice was on offer inside the building.
Officers from Cranham Safer Neighbourhoods Team met with children from Hallmead School in Upminster. In order to engage with the children officers spent the day as students at the school. They took part in various lessons, which included physical education (dance and football), maths, science, design and technology, biology, geography and law.
Acting Police Sergeant Charlie Routley, from Harold Wood Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “Havering’s tweetathon gave the community a glimpse into the type of calls we deal with on a daily basis. Not every call could be tweeted but the 26 that were, were informative and interesting. We hope to hold another #MPSHaveringLive in the near future.”
The Met’s first Community Action Day took place in October 2014 and a second event was held in November. These two events have reached out to thousands of Londoners with a total of 2,352 engagement activities held across the capital.
Community Action Days draw on the success of our Summer Night Lights initiative, originally launched in Los Angeles in 2008. In London, this saw the Met hosting events across five boroughs bringing more than 8,000 members of the community together with their local police at times known for offending and anti-social behaviour.
Whilst total crime in London continues to fall, confidence in the police remains a challenge. Research has shown us that people want to know more about what the police are doing in their area and that communicating this effectively helps to raise their confidence. We also need to know what is most impacting on the public locally so we can address their concerns.
Between July and September 2014, London’s 32 boroughs each spoke to around 23,000 people as part of our Listen to London campaign to reach one million Londoners who we do not normally get the chance to speak with, alongside those who have more regular contact with us.
The boroughs’ findings are helping to shape the local policing response and Community Action Day activity.
Commander Mak Chishty, Met lead for community engagement, said: “Community Action Days are a great way of strengthening relationships with our communities, with officers playing their part in engaging with Londoners over the issues that matter to them.
“London is a capital city with a gloriously diverse population that is constantly changing. Our challenge is to keep up with the changes and to police in a way that gives our communities every confidence in the service that we provide. We must engage with the people who live, work, travel or visit London in ways that best suit their needs and lifestyles.
“We appreciate that there are no short-term fixes to tackle crime and are committed to working with our communities and partners to identify long-term solutions. This isn’t something that the police can do alone, but together we can make a real difference.”
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