LONDON’S most senior police officer visited Harrow to soak up the expertise of organisations at the forefront of keeping young people out of trouble.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe was at Wealdstone Youth Centre on Monday to hold discussions with youth workers, charity workers, parents and neighbourhood champions.
He also met representatives from The Wealdstone Centre in High Street, where the meeting was held, welfare-to-work companies and from Harrow Central Mosque.
Dan Burke, director of Ignite Trust youth charity in Headstone Drive, Wealdstone, said: “The commissioner wanted to find out about our success working with problematic young people, especially around gangs and people getting involved in serious violence or anti-social behaviour.
“It definitely wasn’t a tokenistic meeting. The questions he was asking were very specific and he was asking, ‘What else can we do to help you?’”
Commissioner Hogan-Howe told those present: “Frankly, I don’t work, I just talk, chair meetings and write reports.
“Clearly, what you are doing is making a difference to young people’s lives. We’re not talking about committee meetings three moons away and I’m sure you find the Met do our best to help you in that. You can’t do it alone.”
The commissioner’s other duty was to open the capital’s first Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) at Harrow Civic Centre in Station Road, that allows police officers, civilian staff and council employees to work side by side with the same data and compatible computer systems to better protect vulnerable people from harm.
It is the one of only three such centres in the UK.
The Harrow borough police commander, Chief Superintendant Dal Babu, said: “The commissioner attended the MASH and was very impressed how quickly we have managed to involve adult services.
“The MASH was originally set up to safeguard children, but we found 80 per cent of mothers of whose children are subject to safeguarding measures were victims of domestic violence and so we widened the remit.”
Harrow Council leader Bill Stephenson added: “I think he was very impressed and promised to come back again. They are looking to use all the work we have done as a blueprint for the rest of London.”