Local Lib-Dem MP Munira Wilson is urging the Home Office to address the numbers of police officers and the need for ‘greater community policing on our streets’ following local stabbing incidents in Strawberry Hill and Teddington.
A 21 year old named as Anojan Gnaneswaran was murdered in a stabbing incident near Strawberry Hill railway station and another un-named man in his 20’s receiving stab wounds in a second incident in Teddington in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
No-one has been charged as a result of the incidents but arrests have been made.
The MP writes: “I was devastated, as I know so many residents were, to hear of the tragic fatal stabbing of a young man at Strawberry Hill station a few weeks ago. The senseless loss of a young life is something no parent should ever have to face and, as a parent myself, my thoughts are with the young man’s family after this terrible loss.
“There is a general feeling across London, and indeed our country, that knife crime is on the increase – something that is reflected in national media coverage. We can take some comfort in the fact that Richmond Borough is statistically the safest borough in London, and that knife crime is still rare in our area.
“But we must never forget that people are not just statistics, and any loss of life to knife crime is one loss too many. I know from talking to teenagers in local schools, and the emails in my inbox, that a few knife-related incidents in the borough over the past year or so have left people understandably alarmed.
“Tackling knife crime is not straightforward, and it needs an approach that involves a range of public services – schools, youth services, the NHS and, of course, our police.
“Sadly, one of the challenges we have faced in London, especially over the past decade, has been the cuts to community policing. Our officers are overstretched, and the few we have are often taken into central London to police large events and protests, leaving precious little time for bobbies to be out on the beat, building relationships in the local community and gathering intelligence.
“In Parliament, I have called on Home Office ministers to address officer numbers and the need for greater community policing on our streets. I have made the same point in meetings with the Met Police Commissioner and the Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime in London.
“Locally, I hold regular meetings with the Metropolitan Police Neighbourhood Inspector for Richmond, and senior officers in borough command, to discuss all aspects of crime in our constituency. The local Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) conduct both uniform and plain clothes operations and targeted patrols, including regular targeted patrols of our parks.
“Apart from holding the Government to account to ensure it is doing everything in its power to keep communities safe, it so important that we as a community get involved and work together against all types of crime – whether knife crime, hate crime or anything else.
“Your local SNT holds regular public meetings to address concerns from residents and to involve you in setting their priorities. Further below you will find information on the next local Police Liaison Group (PLG) meeting for Teddington, as well as your local ward contacts. I would encourage you to participate if you can.”