Residents working with Safer Neighbourhood Team to keep Wapping safe

SNT Wapping Woods follow up meeting report

On Wednesday 6th there was a Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) follow up meeting to the Wapping Woods meeting we had a while back. Originally this was supposed to be a normal Ward Panel meeting which are normally restricted to Ward Panel members (of which more below) but it was deliberately planned (tee hee!) to open this one up.

Introducing Sgt Jak Bentley

In direct contrast to the bun fight which was the Wapping Woods meeting this one was extremely well managed by Sergeant Jak Bentley who is the SNT Sergeant for Wapping, St Katherine’s and Shadwell. Jak is new to the area so let’s all make him welcome. And as Jak pointed out he did actually volunteer to work here so he must Love Wapping too!

Apart from Jak Bentley the rest of the SNT team were there and both Councillor Denise Jones and Councillor Emma Jones. I counted about 15 residents which is better than the usual six that SNT meetings tend to attract but then not as good as the turnout for the Wapping Woods meeting / bun fight.

Issues surrounding Pennington Street were discussed. Although the recent licensing variation application by Studio Spaces has been withdrawn this does mean they might reapply in future.  But the SNT are on the case and all sorts of good things might happen there.

Anyway Denise Jones outlined what measures had been taken by Tower Hamlets to make Wapping Woods safer* (light, bushes being trimmed, CCTV, etc.) then Jak took over.

He outlined what the SNT does and then we split into three groups representing central, east and west Wapping. Each group sat with one of the SNT team members and outlined their concerns.

After about 20 minutes we got back into one group and each SNT officer outlined the crime issues that individuals had mentioned then Jak gave an overview of these concerns.

Main crime concerns of Wapping residents

Unsurprisingly the main issues raised were drug use and dealing, car crime and groups drinking in public spaces and clubbers using McDonalds and Dominos on The Highway causing problems. (This is not a comprehensive list.)

The whole meeting didn’t take more than an hour and I found it very useful. There will be another general public meeting in the next month or two, stay tuned to this website for details.

Jak is very keen for more residents to become a member of the Ward Panel. All you need to do is get in touch with Jak or talk to one of the SNT as they patrol round.  And yes I have signed up.

The Wapping SNT is for residents – get involved

The reason for the need for more involvement by residents with the SNT in Wapping by joining the Ward Panel is quite simple. It’s for residents! It’s not just some PR exercise the Metropolitan Police Service does to make us feel better.

How the SNT responds to residents concerns

This is an example of how the Ward Panels work. The SNT has a basic patrol pattern which obviously concentrates on the main areas where there are problems. This pattern is varied according to events and intelligence. However if the Ward Panel members bring up specific issues then the patrol pattern may be changed to address these problems.

Now that isn’t rocket science or brain surgery but it is a clear and simple example of how the SNT work with residents.

Jak Bentley was also at pains to remind residents that they need to report Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) or crime if they see it happening. To use a cliche we are the eyes and ears of the SNT. They have their own eyes and ears of course but an extra 15,000 pairs is very handy when it comes to tackling crime.

How to contact the Police

So if you want to report something like anti social behaviour dial 101.

But if it is an emergency then dial 999.

Let’s be honest for most of the time the sort of thing that happens around Wapping like a bunch of idiots getting drunk and annoying people in a public space then use 101.

If you do make a call to 101  then you need to have some basic information to hand to give to the police. They can either use this at the time or at a later date.

Basic details might be:

  • What is happening? (e.g. “People riding motor scooters at speed round my estate”)
  • Where is it happening? (“Outside Brownpaws House, Wapping Lane”)
  • Descriptions of people involved (e.g. “three white boys, late teens, all wearing hoodies, one wearing a red hat”)
  • If a vehicle is involved then vehicle registration details
  • Anything else you think is relevant

Communication problems

Another interesting issue which came up is one which affects not just the SNT but Tower Hamlets and lots of other public bodies. Communications. Or lack thereof.

Although we live in the Information Age (it must be true, I read it on the internet) the odd thing is that there is a big problem in getting ordinary information about ordinary things out into the community.

The What’s in Wapping website is a model of local news and information (aka hyperlocal) but lots of people dont use the internet, not everyone is on Facebook and Twitters users are an unrepresentative minority. Not everyone reads (or even gets) East End Life and the local press is a joke.

Cheap. Simple. Effective.

So I have suggested a low tech approach to getting information out.

Noticeboards. Not virtual ones, real ones. The type that you put notices on. Paper ones.

This seemed to strike a chord with people and Denise and Emma are going to look into it. Possible locations could be Wapping Green, the Overground station and two other central locations east and west.

So the idea would be that the SNT, Tower Hamlets, local community groups, could simply put a poster up for people to read when they are waiting for the bus.

Getting in touch with our SNT

If you need to get in touch with the Safer Neighbourhoods Team just have a look at the SNT website or just search for “SNT Wapping”.

You can call them on this number: 020 8721 2854 or you can email them (details on SNT site as above). But 101 is usually best.

The reason 101 is best is because every call is logged and goes into a system which ensures that there is a response.  Don’t expect three patrol cars to come zooming down Wapping High Street within minutes but it will be dealt with.

That’s it for the moment. Remember that crime in Wapping is very low level and it remains a fantastic place to live, work and visit. We just need to be careful to keep it that way.

* After the meeting I walked back through Wapping Woods and it is better lit and all sight lines are better. Thanks to everyone involved who sorted this.