AFTER 30 years of service, this is my last week at Harrow and will be my last column for the Observer. It has been an absolute honour and privilege to serve the community of Harrow.

Having been here for some time now, I know that Harrow is a great place to live, work and visit.

We have a strong partnership, and I have seen at first hand the dedication and commitment of our officers and support staff who work extremely hard to serve the borough 24 hours of every single day.

Be assured, Harrow is in safe hands and I wish you and all those closest to you the very best for the future.

Typist Valerie Stamp also retired last week, after completing 31 years and one day in the Metropolitan Police Service.

Val joined the force in 1982 and served at Ruislip and Uxbridge before joining Harrow borough in 1990. Throughout the course of her service, Val has seen many changes and recalls using a manual typewriter when she first started the job.

An advancement in technology saw progression to electric typewriters – which were then considered state of the art. Of course, technology did not stop there and it was not too long before typewriters became obsolete and desktop computers became commonplace.

Taking all of these changes in her stride, Val has thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of her career. She has been a loyal and dedicated member of police staff who will be sorely missed.

Val plans to spend much of her retirement with her husband at their holiday home in Devon. We wish her all the very best for the future.

Inspector Vicky Brownlee, the police lead for Harrow’s neighbourhood champions, has been busy promoting the scheme in support of Harrow Council’s recent campaign. Volunteer Police Cadets have been out and about on wards across the borough telling people about the scheme and encouraging them to sign up.

Future projects and recruitment events are planned at supermarkets, garages and places where a high volume of people pass through, with the goal being to have a neighbourhood champion for every ward on the borough.

Neighbourhood champions are a valuable resource. They help police with locating missing people, appeals and cascading vital crime prevention advice about criminal activity that is happening in their areas.

If you would like to find out more about the scheme visit

We have had quite a few thefts from vehicles reported this week, especially in the HA3, HA5 and HA7 areas. Please ensure that you lock and secure your vehicle when you leave it unattended and do not leave valuables on display. If possible remove all valuable items – even those stored in the boot, as thieves know to look there. If you see anyone acting suspiciously around parked cars call 999.

Officers from the central cluster safer neighbourhood teams combined with officers from the Trident Gang Crime Command to execute two warrants at addresses on the Church Hill Place estate in Wealdstone. The aim was to disrupt the use and supply of drugs in the area.

The addresses were those which officers believed were being frequented by gangs causing both anti-social behaviour and committing crime on the estate. Two arrests were made as a result of drugs being found and an imitation firearm was recovered. One person received a cannabis warning, while investigations in relation to the other drugs arrest and the firearm are still ongoing.

The Met is supporting the Crimestoppers campaign to tackle cannabis cultivation in the UK, an increasing problem in residential areas which has seen a 15 per cent increase in cannabis factories in 2011/12.

Crimestoppers, the Met Police and other forces across the country are distributing ‘scratch and sniff’ cards to the public, so they can recognise the smell of growing cannabis. The cards contain an element that replicates the smell of cannabis plants. It is vitally important that we continue to raise awareness of cannabis cultivation, so that London communities can report concerns.

Anyone with information about drugs in their area who does not want to speak to the police can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 and help to make their local community safer.