Robbery up 200% but police insist Greenway is safe

Newham Councils Crime and Antisocial Behaviour Scrutiny Commission “CASBC” met on Thursday 12th March 2020 to discuss among other things crime on the Greenway. 

The focus on the Greenway seems to have been prompted by Richard Stevenson’s Greenway Petition; Newham Cyclists recent protest ride and lobbying of local councillors by their concerned constituents.

Police Inspector Matthew Gee informed the commission on the state of Crime on the Greenway which included the statistic that robbery in Newham had risen 200% year-on-year.  Included in that were 15 arrests made on the Greenway since January (a period of 3 months).

Responding to comments made by his police colleagues that the Greenway was unsafe and should be avoided he assured the meeting that “the Greenway was safe and getting safer”.  Training in media awareness was needed to avoid mixed messages.

The pattern of crime on the Greenway he explained was peaking between 15.00 – 21.00 peaking on Tuesdays.  Crime was centred around three hot spots he explained.  The inspector expected an increase in crime as the warmer months approached.

Recent police initiatives have resulted in an increase in patrols involving uniformed and plain clothed officers.  Useful intelligence was gathered as a result of a drone unit monitoring sections of the route.  Inspector Gee advised reported that 15 arrests made however it is unclear what the charging and conviction rate is from these.

Alva Bailey, Assistant Director Community Safety was next to give an update to the commission.  On the topic of CCTV he advised that there was a total of 31 cameras along the route of the 5.1km Greenway but despite recently adding two cameras in the vicinity of Pudding Mill Lane he “didn’t think additional CCTV would reduce crime”.  The budget for replacement CCTV warning signs had been found though and were expected to go up that week.

A recent FOI request revealed that despite the cameras being monitored live “No incidents captured and reported in real time” over the past 12 months.   The Police “have reviewed footage and taken downloads from Greenway cameras on ten occasions” over the same time period.

Alva Bailey admitted that he had not travelled the length of the Greenway and did not fully understand all the issues.  A full environmental audit would be beneficial he explained.

Chair of CASBC Cllr Daniel Lee-Phakoe in scenes cementing his place as East London’s answer to Jeremy Paxman repeated asked Mr Bailey as to who ultimately makes the decision as to whether investment is made on the Greenway.  No clear answer was forthcoming.

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