Crime in Charlton: What’s being done?

The tailor’s showroom in Charlton Village was ram-raided in April

Greenwich Council is to set up a working group aimed at combatting the recent increase in crime in and around Charlton.

Worries about crime in the area have escalated in recent months following a number of high-profile incidents, including the ram-raiding of a tailor’s shop on The Village in April. In addition, there have been a number of anecdotal reports of incidents in streets close to Charlton station.

The Charlton Champion does not regularly feature crime reports – but we would like to play our part in combating crime without whipping up fear, so we have asked the local police if we can be sent crime advice and alerts.

We’re grateful to Charlton ward councillor Gary Dillon for passing on these briefing notes from a meeting held by the council last week to discuss the issue. We’ve edited them slightly for clarity and to remove information that may be sensitive.

If you have concerns about crime in your area, you can contact your ward councillors.

On the Met Police website, you can see current stats on crime for Charlton ward, get advice and voice your concerns. (See also Peninsula, Woolwich Riverside and Kidbrooke with Hornfair wards.)

And you are the victim of crime or have any information, you can contact the police online or call 101 (999 in an emergency).


The Charlton ward has seen an increase in crime and disorder over the last few months. Businesses in the locality have been particular targets. As a result, the incidents have had a significant negative impact on the community.

This briefing will address:

– Activities undertaken to date in response to crime incidents and concerns.

– Ways forward to reduce and prevent further incidents to the best of our ability by working in collaboration with key stakeholders.

The aim is not only to decrease crime and disorder but to also enhance reassurance and confidence in those who live, work and visit Charlton.

***

The top three crimes in the Charlton ward are burglary, violence and vehicle crime. There are no specific hotspot areas identified as incidents have occurred across the ward. A recent meeting held on 4 July revealed that the ward has also suffered from street thefts, drug dealing, moped enabled crime, anti-social behaviour and a recent alleged firearms incident at an off-licence. The ward police officers have suggested that some offences are likely to have been linked.

It is recognised residents and those who work in Charlton may not be reporting incidents directly to the police, therefore promoting reporting methods will be explored. It is understood residents feel reporting to police results in little or no action, however an important message to the community is to highlight the fact that if police are unaware of incidents, it is difficult to respond to them.

As a partnership, we want to ensure all incidents are being reported so that appropriate resources and responses are deployed, not only from police but from the Royal Borough of Greenwich and any relevant stakeholder who can contribute to the reduction of crime and disorder.

Crime figures

The safer neighbourhood team produced figures for 1st November 2018 – 4th July 2019. It is evident crimes have shown an increase around March, which correlates with the concerns highlighted by the community. However, figures also show number of incidents have started to decrease, which is positive and the aspiration is to continue with this trend. The decrease may be a result of the work already undertaken in response to the incidents.

Table of crime figures

Work carried out by Greenwich Council

Daniel Bygrave, Community Safety Officer, Safer Spaces Team, has visited several shops following reports of burglaries. Daniel liaised with the business owners and employees and detailed options of how further incidents could be prevented by utilising problem solving methodology.

These options include layout and how the premises can be further secured. Daniel also explored the possibility of CCTV in the area following an enquiry from a councillor. Unfortunately this option is currently less feasible due to the lack of fibre optics needed to support the cameras, however other options for the area were discussed in the meeting held on 4 July, which are discussed in the ‘next steps’ section.

Garry Perkins, ASB Officer, Safer Communities team has issued a number of warning letters to individuals who have caused anti-social behaviour in the Charlton ward. Those who breach warnings issued to them will expect to be pursued with anti-social behaviour enforcement action.

Police activities

Actions undertaken:

Police officers changing their hours to night duties on a voluntary basis.

Home visits to known offenders have taken place, evidential and intelligence gathering and the use of stop and search.

Motor vehicle response tactics employed have been very similar to that used to target burglary subjects. It is suggested they are likely to be the same opportunists therefore crime prevention information is being tweaked for vehicle crime. Messages are not only around leaving valuables in sight but also around locking doors and windows.

The Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) led on a burglary operation in June. Their shifts started at 10pm and finishing at 6am to fit the needs of the ward. The officers have been doing these shifts in uniform to show a high visible presence. Covert patrols have been led by officers from other teams.

All victims have been and are being visited.

A number of warrants were being planned across the borough which should have a positive impact in the Charlton ward. The Gangs Unit are leading on this. The evidence is suggesting the burglary and vehicle crime are drug related.

An image of a suspect was provided to the Police. The individual has been identified and action is being taken.

A two month burglary operation is being carried out.

The violence-related offences have been ad-hoc offences, not gang related.

The SNT have signed up to the phone app Nextdoor where there are already 6,000 members. Police plan to send out crime prevention information this way. Twitter is also being utilised.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition operations have been planned.

The SNT are working with the Charlton Central Residents Association regarding reporting, awareness, prevention information and intelligence gathering.

Smartwater is being rolled out in priority streets and was also promoted at the recent Great Get Together event in Charlton Park on 29th June.

Neighbourhood Watch Activities

The Neighbourhood Watch lead disseminated crime prevention messages to all members in the Royal Borough of Greenwich highlighting burglaries and motor vehicle crimes as the issues.

The message includes vigilance in the community, reporting any suspicious behaviour and submitting any CCTV footage to police.

All the existing Neighbourhood Watch schemes in Charlton had been contacted and volunteers had been asked to carry out a door knocking exercise to provide residents with burglary awareness and prevention messages.

A burglary masterclass was delivered in the ward and there is scope to deliver more.

Meeting on 4 July and next steps

The purpose of the meeting was to obtain fuller understanding of the issues and agree ways forward. The meeting was attended by ward councillors Leo Fletcher and Gary Dillon, Assistant Director Community Safety & Environmental Health Sean McDermid, representation from the DMT Directorate, Safer Communities, Open Spaces and SNT officers.

The actions agreed from the meeting are as follows:

Police and council Officers to review all of the incidents and available intelligence which can be shared

SNT to further roll out Smart water kits with possible support regarding funding from Greenwich Council

The organisation of a Crime Prevention Event, which would involve the SNT, Neighbourhood Watch and Community Safety Officer where a further Burglary Masterclass can be delivered.

Environmental Visual Audit with designing out crime officers to identify Hotspot areas, which could present an opportunity for CCTV or mobile CCTV locations and enhancing visibility of areas by cutting back hedges/bushes and additional lighting.

Adopting a Town Centre approach to Charlton Village.

Disseminating any good news stories to enhance community reassurance via council communications team in addition to SNT communications.

To add Charlton as the fourth tasking priority for the month of July under Integrated Enforcement. This way visibility by Street Services and Warden Patrols would increase.

To devise a detailed action plan/Problem Solving Plan encompassing all the crime types and options for responses for each.

To introduce a monthly stakeholder group forum.

The immediate next step is to arrange visits to all affected businesses and explore problem solving options with council and police representatives. A meeting with the partnership police inspector is taking place on 11 July to discuss the possibility of a formal problem solving process around burglary which will cover the businesses in Charlton and other businesses affected in the borough.

PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. We can’t do it without your help.
– Please tell us about your news and events
– NEW! Advertise your business with us from £10 per week
– Become a monthly supporter at patreon.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion
– Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

Morris Walk developer Lovell ‘let down’ Greenwich Council, housing chief says

Morris Walk Estate
Many of the Morris Walk buildings are now in a poor state of repair

Greenwich Council has been “badly let down” by the developer in charge of rebuilding the crumbling Morris Walk Estate, its senior councillor in charge of housing said last night as it approved plans to knock down the 1960s estate.

The council entered into a 12-year deal with Lovell in 2012 to redevelop the Connaught Estate in Woolwich town centre and the Morris Walk and Maryon Road estates, on the Woolwich/Charlton border.

While Lovell has pressed ahead with turning the Connaught – close to the under-construction Crossrail station – into the Trinity Walk development, where 445 of the 689 homes are for private sale, work has not started on Morris Walk or Maryon Road. This is despite the council having spent years moving tenants and leaseholders out.

Now frustrated councillors have agreed to tell Lovell to knock Morris Walk down anyway, to stop the largely deserted estate from being a haven for crime and anti-social behaviour. Demolition had been due to begin in autumn 2018.

‘Build date could not be met’

Chris Kirby, the cabinet member for housing, told the cabinet – the council’s main decision-making body – that the council has been asked for “vacant possession” of the blocks. “When that process had begun, we were informed that the build date could not be met,” he said.

“To say I am disappointed doesn’t cover my feelings towards that. I feel badly let down by Lovell and I have told them in no uncertain terms.”

The agreement was signed off by former leader Chris Roberts and his cabinet, which included current Woolwich Riverside councillors John Fahy and Jackie Smith, whose ward covers the estate.

“If we were writing it now we would design it in a different way, but I’m not here to unpick old agreements,” Kirby said.

“Where we are in is a really difficult negotiation about bringing the build date forward. There’s a huge amount of concern and frustration about the start date – it’s difficult to give a running commentary on a negotiation, but as soon as we have concrete information for residents, we will do.

“We’re looking for that start date to be as soon as possible. We’re working with Lovell, with PA Housing [the housing association involved in the scheme], with police and with residents to mitigate the fallout from where we are.”

‘Not short of a bob or two’

Addressing the cabinet, John Fahy spoke of how Lovell’s parent company, Morgan Sindall, presented to councillors at the Local Government Association conference in Bournemouth last week that it had “£2billion in 2012, and £2 billion in 2019”, “They’re not short of a bob or two,” he said.

Kirby responded: “I just agree with you. Developers are allowed to get away with this kind of activity all around the country and what we need is a radical government that’s going to stop landbanking and restore grants for the building of social homes.”

Council leader Danny Thorpe defended the original deal with Lovell, saying the estates were “exempted” from the Decent Homes Programme, a Blair-era programme to bring social housing up to scratch. “We can’t defend squalor, we want to see a decent standing of housing moving forward, and we will be holding PA Housing to account for their actions as well.”

Councillors also approved a decision to approve compulsory purchase orders on the estate on improved terms, following a government decision involving Southwark Council and the Aylesbury Estate in Walworth. “This is now seen as best practice, which is why it is back before us tonight,” Kirby said.

PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. We can’t do it without your help.
– Please tell us about your news and events
– NEW! Advertise your business with us from £10 per week
– Become a monthly supporter at patreon.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion
– Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

Charlton Toy library musical fundraiser at The White Swan

Charlton Toy Library Fundraising Concert Flyer - Final

Charlton Toy Library is holding a Fundraising Concert on July 6th, from 5pm at The White Swan in Charlton Village.

The Toy Library offers play and borrowing sessions three mornings a week, and also provides an outreach service that delivers and fits safety equipment for families, including families at risk.

The fundraiser will start with a children’s concert upstairs in the Swan function room. Entry will cost £5 per adult and will feature students of local music teacher Colin Foord-Divers. The kids have been practising hard and the vast majority will be performing for the first time!

From 8pm the party moves downstairs to the main bar where The Shangrilads will blast out a bit of punk, a bit of rock and a side order of roll. Also on the bill will be London singer-songwriter Marie Bashiru, with an enticing mix of folk, jazz and pop rock (which you can listen to ahead of time here: https://soundcloud.com/mariebashiru).

The downstairs gig is free to all, but there will be buckets rattling (not during the songs hopefully) and people are invited to support the Toy Library while enjoying the tunes and the White Swan generally.

For those that don’t know, the Toy Library was set up in 1982 by local mums and initially was run from their homes. The Toy Library now has a regular base in Charlton House and children are free to visit and play on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, between 9.30 and 12.30 (term time only).

Further information:

Tickets can be purchased on the day at The White Swan.
The White Swan can be found at 22 The Village (opposite the Co-op).
You can read more about Charlton Toy Library on their website: http://www.charltontoylibrary.co.uk

Our thanks to Charlton Champion reader Paul Chapman for sending over details of the event.


SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
– Help us by telling us your stories
– Buy Neil a coffee at ko-fi.com
– NEW! Become a monthly patron at patreon.com/charltonchampion
– NEW! Donate directly to the site at paypal.me/charltonchampion