Meeting the demnands in community

East Ham MP Steve Timms talks about the improvements in his old manor I USED to live in Dersingham Avenue, Manor Park. A couple of weeks ago I went to the 60th birthday party for one of my former neighbours. I heard how much better the neighbourhood

East Ham MP Steve Timms talks about the improvements in his old manor

I USED to live in Dersingham Avenue, Manor Park. A couple of weeks ago I went to the 60th birthday party for one of my former neighbours.

I heard how much better the neighbourhood had become since the arrival of the Metropolitan Police Safer Neighbourhood Team, based in Parkhurst Road. There were still problems from time to time, but the team responded quickly when called and the problems were dealt with.

Safer Neighbourhood Teams started in 2004. Every ward in London has had one since April 2006. When fully staffed, each team is headed by a police sergeant and includes two police constables and three police community support officers. Contact details are on the Met website: http://www.met.police.uk/teams/newham/


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The teams have been a big improvement on what went before. They have been able to get to know the problems in each area well, and to get to know many of the people. Some team members have become legends in their neighbourhoods.

The base in Parkhurst Road is ideal for serving Manor Park. Some teams have been less fortunate. The Beckton team started out in an office at the corner of the ExCeL centre, far away from local residents and difficult to get to. Soon after the team was set up, the Asda store in Beckton offered an empty unit for the team to use.

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It was at the heart of the community - instead of far away from it - and it had the extra benefit for Asda of reminding would be shop lifters that the police were not far away. The idea was very popular with local residents too.

It proved a struggle to get the new base established. Scotland Yard was keen at first, but then the scheme fell victim to a freeze on capital investment.

At an open meeting I held with residents in January about anti social behaviour, the idea for the new base was strongly supported. So I convened a meeting between Asda, the police and Newham Council to work out how to make it happen.

And finally - earlier this month - the new police base opened its doors at Asda. The Safer Neighbourhood Team from East Ham South will be based there too. It is a big improvement.

It's an example of how we need to keep working to ensure public services meet today's needs in our community.

As the new Primark Store in East Ham High Street nears completion, its vast size - best seen from Ron Leighton Way - becomes increasingly striking. It will surely give a big boost to our high street.

All the major high street casualties of the last three years have now been replaced: a smart and lively Wilkinson's has replaced Marks and Spencer, Poundland has filled the space left by Woolworth's, and Tesco has moved in to the old post office - with post office services now inside WH Smith.

We could still do with a coffee shop to replace Starbucks, but can't we now conclude that the high street has survived the recession in pretty good shape?

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