New panel will address crime issues across Barnet

Roger Kemp

Roger Kemp

First published in London News by

Plans to tackle crime and hold the police to account will be discussed at the first meeting of a new Safer Neighbourhood Board.

The panel, made up of 15 people from Barnet, will meet next month to address crime issues in the borough after it was established in March.

Roger Kemp, from Edgware, was elected chairman of the board.

He said: “The idea of the board is to ensure that the police are accountable. We try to find out reasons behind crime in the area and reflect the concerns of local people. It’s a strategic body.”

The board aims to understand crime problems in the borough, and help the police to find ways to tackle them. They are currently reviewing crime statistics and stop and search tactics.

Mr Kemp, 63, said: “Burglary seems to be a major issue in the borough, as detection levels are low. Car theft also seems to be a main concern, although fortunately violent crime is low.”

The board is funded by the Mayor of London’s office, which aims to have one in every London borough.

Regarding the long-term future of the board, Mr Kemp said: “The uncertainty is the mayoral election. A change of regime at city hall could cause problems.”

Working alongside the board are neighbourhood watch and victim support groups, among others. Barnet and Camden London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore and High Barnet Councillor David Longstaff also sit on the board, although it aims to be completely apolitical.

Mr Kemp, a retired civil servant, added: “The whole thing is a dialogue. It’s a balancing act, and a way of finding out if we’re getting the best value for money given to us.

“It’s not intended as a political gathering. The idea is to help the people of Barnet. The more we take it out of politics the stronger it becomes, and it gives us greater independence.”

Colindale police station has provided the group with help so far, including the data that they use to review statistics.

The first public meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 16 at 7.30pm.

Mr Kemp added: “I hope there’s a big turnout, and I hope residents realise there’s a voice for them to get their concerns across. We are the voice of the residents of Barnet.”

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