Brent Police keep up the faith in the community

Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher

Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher - Credit: Archant

Every week Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher, Brent Police borough commander, writes a column to inform Times readers about the latest policing activity happening in the borough. Today he talks about theft prevention initatives and looks at policing needs in the light of future growth in the borough

St Valentine’s weekend saw the official re-opening of the Jubilee Clock in Harlesden, an event attended by some Brent officers.

This is an important event in the make-over of Harlesden Town Centre. Looking to the future there are many other big developments ongoing and planned in and around Brent, from the continued progress in Wembley Park, around the stadium, to the recent news of a big transport hub at Old Oak Common.

All of these things mean we need to plan ahead, looking to the future policing needs of Londoners and specifically people who live, work, socialise and come to events in Brent.

We are also approaching the end of the financial year, where we look at our performance as a whole.

In the simplest of terms, crime numbers are down while crimes detected are up. Every individual crime is a tragedy with a victim, but the fact that there are less of them should be celebrated. Equally the fact that more are solved should be recognised.

A good example was seen on Friday last week. Three men were found guilty at Harrow Crown Court of a series of 13 armed robberies which they committed between March and June of 2014.

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Four of the offences were carried out in Brent. Following their arrest in the summer, they were found guilty just before Christmas.

The sentencing hearing last week saw two of them receive custodial sentences of 12 years and the third a period of eight years.

The work of Brent Priority Crime Unit was instrumental in linking the series and making the initial arrests on June 27.

The sentences reflect the seriousness of the crimes and I hope they will act as a deterrent to anybody else who is considering committing such crime.

We were delighted to receive the Borough of the Year award at the London Citizens event for the Harlesden CitySafe scheme.

We worked on the scheme in collaboration with Newman Catholic College, an organisation with whom we have a long standing and excellent relationship. The college is a flagship for Brent in terms of Safer Schools Partnerships. The scheme was set up in direct response to concerns from students.

The CitySafe zone is the largest in London with over 55 premises now offering places of safety to young people who feel at risk or in need of a sanctuary.

On Thursday last week, Brent officers were part of an inter faith training day at Wembley Central Mosque, organised by Rabbi Frank Dabba-Smith and Shahab Hussein.

Our current internal professional development days for all of our officers is at the moment focused on providing the best service we can as measured by our satisfaction surveys, dealing better with mental health issues and recognising the signs and symptoms of child sexual exploitation: all high profile and current issues.

Right now we have a big number of brand new officers coming to the borough.

These internal and external training events are really important in setting the tone for them in understanding what it means to be a police officer in Brent.