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Harrow policing issues webchat: From station closures to crime hotspots, put your questions to borough commander for live Q&A

Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens will be answering your questions on west London policing issues

Crime has been a hot topic in the London Borough of Harrow this year - that's why we're offering readers the chance to put their questions to Harrow's Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens.

He has kindly offered his time on Friday (September 29) to answer questions direct from getwestlondon readers.

Whether you're concerned about upcoming police station closures , violent crime in your area , or the number of bobbies on your beat, Ch Supt Ovens will address the concerns of Harrow residents.

You can use the form below to raise your questions with us.

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Stay tuned to hear what the borough commander has to say in our live Q&A.

For all the latest news and breaking news, visit our news section , or follow us on Facebook or Twitter .

Harrow Police stations and safer neighbourhood team bases to be SCRAPPED after £350m government cuts

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And that's a wrap!

Many thanks to Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens for taking part in our Q&A, and thanks to our readers who took part.


Click here to find out more about police station closures in the borough.


If you have a policing question that wasn’t answered, email katherine.clementine@trinitymirror.com.

The borough commander's final words

Borough Commander Ch Supt Ovens’ final words are:

“I’m really proud of the amazing and brave work that my officers do every day.

“It’s them that keep the streets of Harrow as safe as they are.

“Them that tackle some pretty horrible people and them that you can thank for being to sleep safely in your beds.”

“In light of shrinking budgets, we are going to need community support more than ever"

Ch Supt Ovens said:

“In light of shrinking budgets, we are going to need community support more than ever.

“There’s lots we can do together, and her local sector Inspector would be best place to work out the details of that.”


Anti-social problems in South Harrow

A member of the South Harrow Community Matters Facebook group listed the anti-social problems in the area, including drug problems near South Harrow station and Parkfield road, and Roxeth recreation ground, as well as street drinking.

Question 5: “SNT teams are very welcoming and have people added to the ward panel, but the problem is funding. Is there a way the public and community groups can support SNT teams?

The Ch Supt has been kept fully "up to date" with the tri-borough merger

Ch Supt said:


“I am robustly representing my views to New Scotland Yard regarding the Basic Command Unit (BCU) model.

“I have been kept fully up to date with the testing that’s been going on in other parts of London.”

The tri-borough merger - a disaster waiting to happen?

We had this one in from Scott Martin, on Facebook.


Question: “Will you stand up for your colleagues and civil staff and admit that the tri-borough is going to be a disaster like Islington?”

Ch Supt Ovens denies that crime has risen

Ch Supt said:

“Crime has actually fallen extraordinarily over the past five years.

“I think people are far more aware of what’s going on, particularly through social media, and can react to it quicker.

“Harrow is currently the safest borough in the whole of London, based on the number of crimes per 1,000 people.”

Has Harrow "gone down hill"?

Here’s one from reporter Katherine Clementine.


Question: “A lot of our readers comment that ‘there is more crime than there ever used to be’, ‘Harrow has gone downhill’, ‘it used to be safe’ etc etc.


“Why you think this is the public’s perception and has crime risen in the time you’ve been borough commander?”

"I’d expect her to take into consideration where most crime happens"

Ch Supt Ovens:

“Yes, Nick Hurd has been in for a one-to-one meeting with me.


“When final police reduction numbers are known across London, then the commissioner will decide where officers should be deployed.


“I’d expect her to take into consideration where most crime happens.”

Where is Nick Hurd in all this, reader asks?

And James Holah has asked us this question:


“Has local MP Nick Hurd been in touch to discuss the changes?

“Will the inevitable cuts of 5,000 officers fall disproportionately onto Harrow as it’s seen as a ‘safe’ borough thanks to all your hard work?”

"If it boils down to buildings vs cops, then I’d rather have the cops"

“It’s police officers that fight crime. Not police stations.


“And if it boils down to buildings vs cops, then I’d rather have the cops.


“Crime is actually down by 25% in Harrow on what is was five years ago, particularly in burglary and robbery.”

Our reader asks about crime levels

Dan Baxter has sent us this on our Q&A form:


“Once QP (Pinner police station) is closed do you see the same level of crime rise as it has done after QW (Wealdstone police station) was closed.

Borough commander on Wealdstone: "“I deal with the people that society hands me"

Ch Supt Ovens said:


“First of all police resources are shrinking because of political decisions around funding.

“Wealdstone has the highest levels of policing of anywhere in the borough and we have been incredibly successful in arresting and bringing to justice those who commit crime there.


“But it is a constant battle to deal with those that replace those who we arrest.
We’ll carry on working with the local authority to try and make it more difficult to commit crime.


“I deal with the people that society hands me, and my officers bravely put themselves at risk dealing with some of the nastiest people you’d ever want to meet. And we will keep doing that because we’re the good guys and we’re resilient.”


What will be done about "gang infested" Wealdstone?

McGremlin‏, on Twitter, remarked how “Harrow has traditionally been a sleepy borough” and asked for “no big words just straight talk”.

Question 4: “Will (the Borough Commander) be trying to increase officer numbers and resources in the borough?


“What’s his long term strategy for the gang infested streets of Wealdstone and surrounds?”

Ch Supt Ovens explains why Wealdstone is a crime hotspot

Ch Supt Ovens said:

“It’s to do with where people go to congregate. It’s to do with the type of people that live round there.

“It’s do with the geography, and it’s do with history.

“It’s all four of those that we could do something about, particularly in partnership with the local authority.”

Question: Why is Wealdstone a crime hotspot?

Caren Duhig, Founder of the #FixitHarrow group said:

“There’s a lot of incidents particularly in Wealdstone/Harrow Weald.

”Last weekend there was a stabbing in Harrow Weald, it’s becoming a regular occurrence.”



Question 3: “You called Wealdstone a ‘prime hotspot’ for crime. Why do you think this is the case, and why is there a particular issue of violence in the area?”

Borough Commander: South Harrow is one of the three crime hotspots

“I know that your area is one of the three crime hotspots in the borough.

“I know the local teams are working hard down there.

“We’ve had some extraordinary successes with arrests.

“It will continue to be one of my main focuses within the borough.”


Question 2: “How can the area return to normality so customers and local residents can go about their daily lives unhindered?”

‘Kuha’, speaking on behalf of business owners in Northolt road, South Harrow, said:


“We want to express our anger, our frustration and dismay as we are struggling to run our business, protect our customers and ensure our safety, throughout the daytime in business hours and the night.”

Question 2: “How can the area return to normality so customers and local residents can go about their daily lives unhindered?”

Ch Supt added "It's a constant balance"

“People want to see a police officer walking around, but at the same time want a response within two mins when they dial 999.

“It’s a constant balance between those two things.”

Answer 1:

Ch Supt said:

“I have 354 police officers, and from that I have to provide a service that delivers answering 999 calls, investigating all crime (CID officers), staffing of the SNT teams and carrying out all the police functions in Harrow, seven days a week.


“So I have to balance doing all those things being limited with that many people.”


Question 1 - Why are there not more bobbies on the beat?

Firstly, this is from MANY of our readers.

Question 1: “Why is there not more bobbies on the beat?”



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