I'm excited to share my impressions from the high-profile local policing event that took place at the Guildhall yesterday. The event focused on the important work being done to enhance local community policing. Ever since the departure of the previous commissioner, Cressida Dick, following the Sarah Everard murder and the policing of the vigil held in her memory, the Met Police has been working diligently to make significant changes. The Baroness Casey Review identified the need for new leadership, a cultural shift, and improved training to build trust within communities and better understand the challenges faced by women, girls, and minority groups.
One of the highlights of the event was the presence of Sir Mark Rowley, who recently took charge as the new commissioner. Sir Mark demonstrated a strong commitment to engaging with residents and listening to their views and concerns. More than 200 residents attended the meeting at the Guildhall, eager to contribute to this transformative process.
Under Sir Mark's leadership, the Met Police is now rolling out a comprehensive community engagement plan throughout London. Leading this initiative is Chief Superintendent Clair Kelland, responsible for Kingston and three other boroughs. By focusing on residents' priorities in each area, Sir Mark aims to establish improved cultural and communication standards, as well as foster stronger community relationships that can prevent crime and win trust.
During the event, residents had the opportunity to hear from Clair Kelland and our dedicated superintendent for Kingston, Joshua Laughton, who proudly hails from our local community. Their talks gave us insights into the ongoing efforts to address our concerns. The event also included interactive sessions with breakout groups, fostering engaging discussions, and a Q&A session that allowed residents to express their frustrations, fears, and needs.
Multiple concerns and suggestions were raised during the event, including the necessity for enhanced communication, greater diversity and inclusion within the police force, increased visibility of officers on the streets, and decisive action against anti-social behaviour. These valuable insights highlighted the importance of residents feeling safe and supported within our community.
The meeting at the Guildhall proved to be a lively, friendly, and informative gathering that showcased positive public relations for the Met Police. It concluded with a promise to hold another meeting in three months' time, ensuring that residents can monitor the progress made on addressing their concerns.
Additionally, I want to commend the recent community policing efforts focused on women and girls' safety, such as the walkabouts and weapons sweep in Chessington. I had the privilege of attending these events, which further solidified my confidence in our local law enforcement. Furthermore, in two weeks' time, I will be accompanying our local officers on a night shift, providing me with a firsthand experience of our town centre. While I've been warned about potential challenges, I am reassured knowing that I will be in safe company alongside our dedicated officers.
Overall, this high-profile local policing event and the ongoing efforts by the Met Police have shown a commitment to positive change. By prioritizing community engagement, enhancing trust, and addressing residents' concerns, our local law enforcement is taking significant steps towards creating a safer and more secure environment for all.
Do write to me about experiences you would like me to take up with our local met team.