Brent Borough Commander takes questions on drugs and housing at special online meeting

BCU Borough Commander Roy Smith. Picture: Srg Marcus Hanvey

BCU Borough Commander Roy Smith. Picture: Srg Marcus Hanvey - Credit: Archant

Brent’s police chief has pledged to write to the council’s planning department following complaints of crime in new build estates.

Borough Commander Roy Smith took questions from the public at an online meeting hosted by Brent Safer Neighbourhood Board on Wednesday night (August 19).

More than 100 people logged on to the call with complaints including rampant drug dealing, lack of police action when reporting crime, and exasperation over alley way anti-social behaviour around new tower blocks.

BC Smith, who also commands Harrow and Barnet since his appointment in March, told the meeting it was a “challenging time” but his teams were “fully staffed for the first time” since the tri-borough merger in 2018.

He said the police was working with council officers and “design out crime officers” on practical steps such as lighting or installing gates to design out crime on estates.

One caller said there was a “big issue with new builds” and Brent planning department “ignoring the need” for anti-crime measures.

She mentioned blocks with side alley ways all “designing in crime, not designing out” including two blocks in the Mall in Kingsbury.

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“Police are constantly having to spend all their time dealing with drug use” she said, and new flats are being put into Barnhill “passed by the council without any concept with the need for gating”.

BC Smith said: “It’s music to my ears, because I actually set up the design out crime function for the Met about four years ago.”

He suggested “simple things” such as no recessed doorways and lighting saying he’d contact the council for “police representation for new builds to be built to the national secured by design standard”.

He also added they were investing money from a police partnership fund to improve safety and security including £20,000 on ring door bells.

The doorbells, which are connected to a CCTV camera, are distributed to the most vulnerable victims of burglary.

Another caller said the police “did nothing” when he sent in an image of an intruder in his garden.

BC Smith said he would “pick up on that individual case” as an image could be circulated. “There’s always something we can do”.