THE mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham has received a trophy for her dedication to tackling crime in the borough.
Councillor Belinda Donovan was shocked to receive the Douglas Hurd Cup that she thought she would be presenting last week.
Hammersmith and Fulham Neighbourhood Watch usually award the trophy to the group of volunteer co-ordinators who lead the battle against crime in their streets. But chairman David Millar decided Ms Donovan deserved the accolade all to herself.
He said: "This year we wanted the cup to go to an individual who I believe has contributed more to the development of Neighbourhood Watch than anybody else. Councillor Donovan has influenced many people to start their very own street watch. She represents and embodies as a person, beyond all, Neighbourhood Watch."
Chief Superintendent Lucy D’Orsi of Hammersmith and Fulham Police urged more people to join Neighbourhood Watch schemes which she says are vital in solving crime.
She said: "In my utopia, I would like to see a Neighbourhood Watch in every street – that would be tremendous."
Speaking at the scheme’s annual general meeting, she praised the efforts of the borough’s 220 co-ordinators representing 261 streets, adding: “I’m very proud of the achievement working with Neighbourhood Watch and neighbourhoods to make it the safest borough in London. It’s the second consecutive year we’ve had crime reduction in this borough.
“Neighbourhood Watch is the eyes and ears in the community. You are there to help us stop crime and stop that person from being a victim of crime. You are absolutely critical to us. We cannot solve crimes without your help in the local community.”
Neighbourhood Watch chairman David Millar again raised concerns about slimming down Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) from one sergeant, two PCs and two PCSOs, to just one dedicated named PC and PCSO per ward.
It is being driven by a need to save £500million across the Met by 2015. About 90 officers and five sergeants will be redeployed in a wider SNT pool to create a more flexible model which allows officers to follow crime patterns.
Mr Millar accepted the changes were out of the hands of H&F Police. He criticised the lack of detail in the consultation and urged Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, at a poorly attended meeting last week, to better outline the changes, which he agreed to by the end of June.
The borough commander said if she could, she would put more money into SNTs.
“I wanted to localise policing,” Ms D’Orsi said. “I think to bring a totality of policing to the neighbourhood, I would like to see each crime investigated by your SNT rather than a central team. You know your neighbourhood officers and inspectors. I would bring it right down to neighbourhood level,”
But she said it was imperative to modernise policing and better utilise technology, saying ‘more boots on the beat’ would help tackle crime.
Visit www.hfnhw.org.uk for more Neighbourhood Watch information.