are two sorts of police officer, the type who spots someone in the back seat of
a car caught up in a stationary traffic queue who has taken off her seat belt,
invites the driver to get out and when told the passenger is heavily pregnant
and is taking the opportunity to be more comfortable for a moment, hauls herself up to her
full five foot nothing, adopts a Glaswegian head butting pose and barks “I
don’t care!” (†)
Then there’s the sort who will politely enquire why one should be bothering to take a picture of a shabby looking Belvedere police station which is up for sale - perhaps I should have said I was an Estate Agent - and explains that they are being cautious in view of current security levels and happily agrees that there is nothing in law to stop the taking of photographs in a public place, but best to play safe.
And then there is Police Constable, soon to be Sergeant, Chris Molnar.
Chris is part of the Lesnes Abbey and Thamesmead East Policing Team which also includes Gina Buckley, Dennis Hobbs and John Pruden. They had invited me to one of their occasional Panel meetings at the aforesaid shabby cop shop. The invitation said I had been invited because I had shown “a desire to improve your area”.
It’s really nice to know that the police see my efforts towards ridding the borough of Teresa O’Neill as improving the area.
Unfortunately barely 20% of the invitees bothered to show up and those who did were the familiar old faces I have seen at every other police meeting I’ve attended. Every one of them apart from councillor Danny Hackett would have a Freedom Pass in his pocket. Same for the only lady present.
Chris gave an illustrated presentation on speeding, legal highs, public engagement and illegal motor bikes along with the mandatory crime stats beloved of all policemen. Most were going in the right direction but Domestic Violence wasn’t. Up 20·4% this year.
The local police team is a great believer in community engagement and they are to be seen all over social media and show up at a whole load of local functions, especially, in Chris’s case if football is involved or there is a five year old around willing to wear his hat.
I wonder how he finds the time to chase the crooks but apparently he and his colleagues do a bit of that too. Thamesmead East and Lesnes Abbey wards both have fewer than half the crimes reported in the mirror image wards to be found on the other side of Harrow Manorway. Abbey Wood and Thames Moorings.
Whilst last night’s meeting was by invitation only, thoughts are turning towards an open meeting, possibly on October 15th.
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† About 14:30, Tuesday 28th July in Burges Road, East Ham, next to the Underground station. So if Newham’s police commander Tony Nash is listening; you’ve got a bad apple in your barrel. Sort her out.