Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panels – How to join

The Metropolitan Police organise their local policing under the umbrella of ‘Safer Neighbourhoods’; our local police officers work in small teams looking after ward areas and in this way they get to know the locals, including of course those operating on both sides of the law. The wards are exactly the same as the voting wards, so, for the MHFGA area, there are three wards: Muswell Hill, Fortis Green and Alexandra. Currently we have two Police Constables and a Community Support Officer for each ward. You may see them walking around your ward from time to time and you will meet them if you attend one of their monthly contact sessions; the dates and places of the contact sessions are of course notified to all MHFGA members through our mailing list every month. Local police stations have long gone unfortunately but the contact sessions at least get the officers out from behind the counter and onto the street to meet the public. In our area, the shops in Muswell Hill are partly in Muswell Hill Ward and partly in Fortis Green Ward. Constables from the adjacent wards co-operate with each other and share their efforts to ensure continuity of policing along Fortis Green Road and Muswell Hill Broadway. We have one Sergeant who is responsible for our three wards, also an Inspector overseeing all the Safer Neighbourhood Teams in Haringey. The Ward Panels are independent of the police but perform an important role in guiding and advising the work of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams. The panels are comprised of local residents, business owners, representatives from schools, places of worship, neighbourhood watch and residents’ groups. The people on the panel do not need to be formal representatives of a group but are typically people who engage with the local community and are prepared to give up a modest amount of time to support the Safer Neighbourhood Teams. The aim is for the panel to have wide representation and to reflect the local community. At the meetings, information about local crimes is provided in a ‘trusted’ environment and the officers say what they are doing to reduce crime in the area. The most important function of each meeting is to set ‘ward priorities’; each ward is allowed three priorities at a time. Once these priorities are set the police aim to focus their safer neighbourhood work on those priorities. At every meeting the panel members are entitled to question the officers on what they are doing to address the ward priorities. Haringey, as our local authority, takes an active role in working in partnership with the police and the Ward Panels are an important part of this – at least one of the local ward councillors attends each of the panel meetings. The panels tend to meet about once every two to three months. The meetings are not public meetings but they are held in a community space of some sort; for example the back room of a pub. The meetings often include interesting guests – for example, the police officers assigned to liaise with our local schools, forensics officers and officers who focus on youth offenders All of our local Ward Panels are now active and functioning and we believe that they are a valuable service to our local community. Unsurprisingly, our local Ward Panels often put burglary, street robberies and vehicle crime as priorities. Knife crime has also come to the fore in Muswell Hill due to some very concerning incidents in our area, and this is allied with the heightened awareness of the threats to young people in particular highlighted by the ‘stop knife crime’ initiative. Each of the panels is open to new members at this time and if you are interested in becoming a member please let us know by contacting the chair of your local Ward Panel below.

Ward Panel Chairs

Lauriz Hansen-Bay (Chair Alexandra Ward Panel) – Brian Livingston (Chair Fortis Green Ward Panel) – Patricia Pearl (Chair Muswell Hill Ward Panel) –