Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal (6)

In mid-June, I contacted the Mayor’s Officer for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to inquire about whether it or LBWF had prime responsibility for the Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhoods Board (WFSNB).

A day or two ago, I received the reply pasted below.

It is gratifying to learn that MOPAC to some extent validates the concerns which I have laid out in previous posts, and promises that in future the WFSNB will be encouraged to operate ‘in a more clear and transparent fashion’.

The hope is that such change will occur sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, as of today, the WFSNB’s pages on the LBWF website show that its membership has been drastically cut, reduced from 25 one month ago to just six now.

It is interesting to speculate about why and how this cull has been conducted, particularly because in WFSNB’s early days, the claim was made fairly insistently that members would be chosen on the basis of ‘application form, interview, and references’.

Inevitably this begs the question: if the culled 19 were good enough for membership then, why not now?

The other point which emerges is that, despite all the hot air that has been generated, the WFSNB has still not met since 13 September 2016; while no future meetings (according to this source, at least) are scheduled.

Anyway, here is the MOPAC communication:

‘Dear Mr Tiratsoo,

Thank you for your email of 22 June to the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) regarding Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhood Board.  As the Head of Engagement at the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), I have been asked to reply.

First of all I apologise for the delay in replying.  While your direct question was about responsibility for Safer Neighbourhood Boards (SNBs), having read your blog, I wanted to address some of the concerns expressed there by talking to some of the relevant partners involved.

SNBs were set up by MOPAC as the main borough level mechanism to deliver local police accountability and engagement.  As such, we have the overarching responsibility to ensure there is a functioning board in every borough.  However, in recognition of the view that local people know best what is needed at the local level, the way SNBs discharge their functions is not prescribed by MOPAC, but left up to local partners to decide.   The nature of SNBs is that they comprise a partnership of borough statutory and community members, all of whom have an interest in policing, crime and community safety.  These include the local authority and voluntary and community organisations.  All SNB members share a responsibility, with the support of MOPAC, to ensure their functions are carried out.

One of the important functions of SNBs is to commission and support local initiatives to prevent and reduce crime, and deliver community and police engagement, particularly with those communities who don’t normally engage on policing and crime.  Each SNB receives an annual allocation to support these initiatives.

I note that your blog suggests that the focus of Waltham Forest SNB has been very much on this element of the SNB functions, somewhat to the detriment of its other, local police accountability function.  This is a view with which I agree.  There are some mitigating circumstances linked to the availability of some SNB members, but the time period between board meetings where the police can be held to account is disappointing.

MOPAC has been in contact with those partners who attend and support the SNB, including the local authority and police Borough Commander, and discussions are taking place to explore what each partner can do to support SNB members in delivering all of the board’s functions, and to do so in a more clear and transparent fashion.

In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the plans for the SNB going forward, or its past or current project work, or simply to offer suggestions on how you feel the board can better discharge its functions, the SNB can be contacted directly at SNBchair@lbwf.net

I hope this will go some way to addressing your concerns.

Yours sincerely

Natasha Plummer

Head of Engagement

Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime’

Related Posts

Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal (1)

Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal (2)

Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal (3)

Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal (4)

Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal (5)

The LBWF Gang Prevention Programme: yet another missed opportunity

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