Karl Brown, chair of the Palmers Green ward panel, reports on discussions at its most recent meeting.
PG Ward Panel (CAPE) 12 September 2023
The PG Panel was pretty much at bursting level, essentially facing its 25-member max. That’s hugely positive for community interest and commitment.
Priorities from last time – anticipate and cap outdoor ASB in three key areas of PG before it took off in the warm weather and deepen penetration of community engagement, particularly via OWL uptake, to better help us help ourselves, revealed positive results.
We saw the results of the Ward Survey. (A fresh survey is due, please complete it and encourage others to do so, especially our younger community members.) Litter topped the charts, with drugs right up there along with residential burglary. This latter perhaps highlighting the fear (perception) of crime being as important as the actuality because residential burglary in PG is extremely low and in the last period was nil.
The survey is a police action and document, but I can see no reason why it should not be available to all and will seek public publication from its next cycle, if possible.
Litter is perhaps less of a problem on the main shopping streets and more on nearby junctions and elsewhere in PG. A number of locations have gone forward with a request for CCTV coverage.
Car crime – theft of vehicle and items from inside is not as rosy. OWL gives hints eg what are the current “favourite” cars, how to protect them and reminders not to leave your stuff visible to encourage opportunistic break ins.
Police resource and their distant location base (in Edmonton) is a real issue, with no sign of this austerity-driven change improving in the short term. The Panel have tried to identify a local site (which would need to accommodate circa eight officers) which could be used, but with no success. Hence we will need to do some actions ourselves to help mitigate particular matters. Some background work is ongoing on the (national) problem of shop theft and street safety in particular. The Panel can’t currently take any more volunteers, but it may be if and when such mini projects emerge then a wider pool could usefully add their weight to any actions. I’m also happy to look to coordinate and align anyone’s ideas and commitment outside of the Panel itself if there is interest.
We’ve asked for an experienced police heavyweight to present to the next session and bring details of what has worked elsewhere in the Met to address community problems such as drugs and safety.
Until then some members will continue exploring key themes for wins, while the police have been tasked to improve their visibility and resolve a drug issue in one particular PG location.
This will be a long, inevitably never ending “project”, and may take a little time to correctly front-end its optimal structure for PG. The Panel are interfacing with and meshing with related issues emerging from our councillor’s PG Ward Forum. Best we didn’t have any problems at al,l but I’m hopeful the sort of steps now being taken are PG-positive.
In the meantime, it's join OWL, report all crime and suspicious stuff (101 is often busy as a 999 overspill – think A&E and GP appointments – but there is also a Met online option and Twitter / X). Reporting may not lead to the full-on police action you may seek, but reporting means data and that can help steer the wider resource picture. I’m seeing that it is worth it.
Finally, if we have a drug supply side issue, along with much of London, there must be demand and many of us may be able to point fingers at social users who could do us all a favour by not. So maybe tell them, possibly not in the way of my Newcastle junior school teacher who explained to the very young class that taking drugs would result in your head exploding, but in your own way to make a suitable, lasting, impact.
Thanks to all who attended and to the Fox for the space, tea and biscuits.