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Feb 13 2012

Borough Commander’s Blog – February 13, 2012

Chief Superintendent Dal Babu’s weekly Blog…

This week, the Leader of Harrow Council, Councillor Bill Stephenson and I attended the launch of the Metropolitan Police Service’s new Trident Gang Crime Command. In an impressive show of strength, the Commissioner and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, joined by dozens of police officers and members of London’s communities, took part in a photocall in central London in a public demonstration against gang crime. Community workers, council leaders and relatives of people killed in gang crime stood shoulder to shoulder at the event in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday.

Ingrid Adams, the mother of Negus McClean who was murdered last year, attended the event. She pledged her support to the Met’s renewed approach and said:

“I go to bed thinking of Negus and wake up thinking about him. I will always remember his smile. Even if a child isn’t in a gang, they probably know someone who is in a gang or is affiliated with a gang.

“The police need to start with children very early. When I was growing up the police used to come into my school. You have to start young and talk to them to gain their trust. I know there is a problem with so called snitching and loyalties. But keeping quiet isn’t helping the problem.

“There is this wall of silence that needs to be broken down. They need to come forward to talk to the police. The wall of silence needs to stop. Since Negus there has been so many others.”

I was pleased to see Harrow police officers at the event and Harrow Police arrested seven people related to gang activity in early morning raids this week as part of the Met’s anti-gang initiative.

I have been meeting with a group of Somali mothers and local agencies regarding gang issues. I was struck by the level of support from the mothers to deal with the small minority of young men who cause harm to their local community. I will be meeting with the mothers on a regular basis to ensure we are supporting local people who want to support the police and the local community in stopping gang activity. If you have any information regarding gangs please contact Crimestoppers anonymously or your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team.  In emergency always call 999.

Russell Henry, aged 29 of Boxmoor Road, Harrow was sentenced to 6 years for dealing cocaine last week. I want to send out a strong message to those people dealing in drugs that we will use every legitimate opportunity to deal with you including the criminal justice system and seizing their ill gotten gains.

I was very pleased to welcome Helen Breaden as our new Resources Manager for Harrow Police. Helen joins the Senior Management Team in challenging times. Helen is a shining example of Harrow’s excellent schools, having attended Bentley Wood School. She has returned to serve our communities in Harrow and I have been very impressed with her local knowledge and zest for the public sector.

I attended a conference in central London looking at the value of “Resilience Training.”  This is an idea that seeks to look at mental strength as well as our physical wellbeing. The key note speaker was Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum who leads on emotional fitness for the US military.

A member of the first generation of female US soldiers sent to the frontline during the first Gulf War, Cornum was taken prisoner by Iraqi forces. On her release, having sustained severe torture without revealing any confidential information, she became an American war hero. She explains:

“There are some people who are just naturally resilient, who look at problems as challenges to be overcome. Some people even see adversity as an opportunity to excel. I recognised that I had those skills and others didn’t. What we have learnt since then is that the thinking skills that lead to resilience can be taught.”

I am keen to see how we can explore this concept working with people in Harrow using Resilience Training.

Harrow Police arrested seven people related to gang activity in early morning raids this week.

Dermot Carlin the Council’s photographer is one of the unsung heroes of Harrow. Dermot works tirelessly in the evening and weekends taking photographs of the local community and driving the Mayor of Harrow to appointments. I have never seen Dermot complain as he tries to get people in the right position for photographs. At time it looks like he is herding cats, as people move from one place to another but this always done with a smile and good humour.

I am pleased to see that Harrow’s burglaries have reduced in recent weeks, due in part to to the wintry weather, but please remember to look out for elderly friends, relatives and neighbours during the cold snap and make sure your home looks occupied and your doors and windows are locked and shut.

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