Police officers and members of the public in council building

Nine arrests made since launch of Community Reporting Hubs in Barking and Dagenham

Barking and Dagenham Council said police have made nine arrests since the launch of new Community Reporting Hubs earlier this month.

The two hubs, which are located at Dagenham Library and Whalebone Lane, are designed to encourage residents to report crimes and instances of antisocial behaviour, with police officers and members of the council both present.

According to Councillor Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety in Barking and Dagenham, the arrests relate to charges including possession of a bladed weapon, theft and court order breaches.

He added that 38 stop and searches have also been carried out and two injunctions issued for antisocial behaviour.

Resident Michelle Coleman, 44, who works in a shop near Upney Lane, has previously contacted the council about feeling unsafe on her way home from work in an area next to the tube station. 

She said: “As a woman on my own it’s quite vulnerable to start with and it’s not really a policed area.

“It’s like a dumping ground so I was asking if it could have more CCTV, more lighting, to try and stop [criminal behaviour] from happening.”

While she would normally call someone on the phone, she said she cannot do this near Upney Lane for fear of it being snatched.

Although Coleman expressed disappointment regarding the council’s handling of her complaint, she welcomed the launch of the reporting hubs.

She said: “It’s definitely nice to know that you can go somewhere and talk to someone about these problems because everyone wants to be listened to at the end of the day.”

Coleman has previously used other council hubs, including the ‘Homes and Money Hubs’, and found them to be helpful.

As someone suffering with severe anxiety and agoraphobia, a mental health disorder associated with going out in public, she is hopeful that the reporting hubs will offer a less intimidating alternative to police stations. 

The launch comes after the Metropolitan Police recorded high crime rates in the borough last year. 

In the year leading up to January 2024, Barking and Dagenham was among the four London boroughs with the highest knife crime rates, with 565 reported offences in total, an 18.3% increase compared to the previous 12 months.

The borough also had the highest reported rate of domestic abuse, with 4016 total offences, a crime rate of 19 offences per 1000 people.

Councillor Ghani said he planned to spread the word about the hubs on social media, via religious forums, and through the council’s newsletter.

With only one police station in the whole borough, he believes the hubs will present a more “accessible” way for residents to raise their concerns.

Featured image credit: Barking and Dagenham Council

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