Hornchurch & Upminster MP, Julia Lopez, met Havering’s lead policeman in Harold Hill this week [24 November] to raise residents’ crime concerns and continue her campaign to keep Hornchurch Police Station in the Met’s hands.
Mrs Lopez and Superintendent Simon Hutchison spoke about progress to crack down on drug dealing, antisocial behaviour and shoplifting as they gathered at St George’s Church on Chippenham Road. Their meeting comes as the area looks set to receive extra resource from the Home Office to undertake an intensive policing operation to bear down on these crimes, with a particular focus on theft. If successful, local police intend to apply the lessons of that operation to other parts of Mrs Lopez’s constituency.
The work will be part of the government’s action plan to tackle shoplifting, launched this month by Crime Minister, Chris Philp MP. Included in the national drive is a police commitment to give greater priority to shoplifting cases where violence has been used against retail workers.
The pair also discussed violence against women and girls, where there has been intensive work on safety and security in Romford town centre, while Mrs Lopez got a progress report on efforts to stop vehicle theft. In the last week alone, Havering Joint Taskforce has made nine arrests and recovered nine vehicles from their focus on car crime.
Mrs Lopez also shared with Superintendent Hutchison the level of resident backing for her campaign to save Hornchurch Police Station. The campaign, which will mark its first birthday next month, has now been supported by over 1,400 signatories. The Met’s estates team has recently visited the borough to understand which buildings local officers need to police the area effectively. The Hornchurch MP is hopeful of campaign success and is now considering next steps – potentially a push to reopen the counter at Hornchurch Station, and whether an extra base can be secured in Upminster to add to that in Harold Hill.
Mrs Lopez said, ‘Keeping the borough safe is one of residents’ top concerns so my team and I have focused a lot of effort this year on our policing campaigns and making sure local officers like Superintendent Hutchison understand which issues are most affecting constituents. We have some fantastic police officers like the Havering Joint Taskforce, who are delivering tangible results things like car theft and burglary. We want to make sure they have what they need to keep delivering.
I am also glad to work with government when it comes to cracking down on things like retail crime – this is not victimless, and it is right that shopkeepers should feel able to trade and serve communities without fear. I am grateful to Superintendent Hutchison for his time and the commitment of his officers to protecting decent, hardworking people and the most vulnerable among us’.