Harlesden police team launched to make residents feel safer

Some of the officers in the Harlesden Town Centre Team

Some of the officers in the Harlesden Town Centre Team - Credit: William Mata

A Town Centre Team of police has been formed to help residents of Harlesden feel safe and crack down on problem issues. 

Going live on February 14, the squad will be made up of three sergeants and 21 police constables under the leadership of inspector Andy Le Geyt.

And women’s safety is at the centre of the plan. 

They will work with three priorities which are to be decided through consultation with the community. One of these will be reducing violence, especially against women and girls and the other two are yet to be set - but could be robbery, antisocial behaviour, or drug dealing. 

The operation will also look to tackle issues in problem areas which would be identified by report data as well as what victims have said. Le Geyt acknowledged crimes such as pickpocketing are on the police’s agenda.

“We don’t just want to look at the figures purely,” he said. “Even though those are suggesting there is a problem, there might not be a great priority for the community.”

He added: “The town is a dense area with lots of shops and businesses.

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“For other areas it may not be so dense. The level of violence is not out of control but it will be a priority for all the town centre teams.”

The Harlesden Police town team outside the police station.

The Harlesden Police town team outside the police station. - Credit: Met Police

All of the officers involved are from the area and the officers involved all applied for the roles through a selection process. 

Town centre teams have been set up in other areas around London following the creation of 500 police jobs - a number announced last year. 

It means the local force is now able to hire more officers to take the jobs vacated by members joining the street team. 

“Being visible” is a priority for the functioning of the team with the officers looking to glean information from members of the public. 

“We want to find out from the community what is really going on and then we want to take action to a certain degree.”

Women’s safety is a priority for the police, according to Le Geyt.

“It’s about increasing how safe women feel when they go onto the street,” he said. “We are trying to reassure them that on their way home from school, or out for the night, it is about trying to increase that confidence. 

“We can get information about how they feel through websites which we can look into to investigate.”