Sir Robin Wales: Statement on community safety

5 July 2017 in Community safety and Mayor
​I am aware of a perceived increase in the number of hate attacks involving noxious substances in the borough.​
Lead councillors and officers from the council are working closely with the Metropolitan Police Borough Commander for Newham, Ch Supt Ade Adelekan, to offer reassurance to our residents about the current situation.

I am told that the police have identified one attack in Beckton last month, that is being dealt with as a hate crime, which of course I, and this council, and this community, utterly deplore and condemn without hesitation.

However we are also aware that there has been a great deal of speculation on social media about other similar crimes. At this stage the police have not received any direct complaints from victims of these alleged incidents. If you have been a victim, or know someone who has been a victim, of this type of crime it is imperative that you report it. Call 999 in an emergency, or 101 to speak to the police direct or you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if you wish to remain anonymous.

The borough police has dedicated officers, who are specially trained to support and help the victims of hate crime, and they will thoroughly investigate any instances that are reported to them.

In Newham we pay for an extra 40 Metropolitan police officers (known as EPT), who are tasked by this council to tackle crime at street level, particularly the possession of weapons. I entirely support this intelligence led “stop and search” operation. Our local approach to tackling street crime is reaping rewards for our residents. 40 per cent of stop and search operations carried out by the EPT in Newham result in the discovery of weapons carried by individuals, including noxious substances. That compares to a 20 per cent success rate for the Met Police as a whole.

Any violent crime, particularly hate crime is to be utterly condemned. We, together with our partners in the Metropolitan Police are determined to detect, investigate and punish it.

I welcome recent changes to introduce tougher sentences for those found guilty of possession, or violence involving knives. However police inform us that it is likely that violent criminals are now using alternatives – and noxious liquids, carried in innocent looking bottles or containers – seem to be a new preferred, if horrific, substitute. I would call on law makers to  recognise this and change sentencing guidelines around the possession and use of noxious substances in a similarly uncompromising way.

Finally I would reiterate that Newham, one of the most diverse communities in the country, is also one of the most cohesive where 89% of our residents agree that people from different backgrounds get on well together in Newham.

My message is as it has always been, we stand together. We stand together against hate. We stand together against crime. And we stand together to demand the right to live in safety and security.

Sir Robin Wales
Mayor of Newham