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Tower Hamlets Borough Commander Chief Supt Dave Stringer on the success of the Mela Festival

PUBLISHED: 15:41 19 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:42 19 June 2013

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In view of recent events in Woolwich I thought it would be useful to give a very encouraging example of policing and community relations in Tower Hamlets. It may be a month ago, but the Mela Festival on 12th May bears testimony to the how people from all backgrounds can live together with the benefit for each others culture.

The Mela was huge with between fifty and sixty thousand people taking part in one way or another over the course of the day. With that many people the public order and public safety implications for police were significant. All leave was cancelled and every available police officer was required to work either on the ground or in a support role.

The crowds filled the streets and the parks. We had all sorts of contingency plans for the procession along Roman Road in case it needed to be diverted for one reason or another but the procession with all the floats and pedestrians completed its course without incident. Even more impressive, considering the numbers involved, was that only a hand full crimes were reported which were directed connected to the event itself.

Chief Inspector Nick Hancock has policed this event for a decade. He said this year there was much broader mix from communities in attendance, not just from the Bangladeshi community even although the event is a celebration of the Bangladeshi New Year, and many more families with young children stayed longer to soak up the atmosphere.

My officers, led by Supt De Souza Bradey and Ch.Insp Helen Lewis speak for all the officers from Tower Hamlets when they say that, from a policing point of view, it was a day to remember for all the right reasons.

Turning attention from last Month to next Month; by then the Local Policing Model (LPM) will be implemented in Tower Hamlets. Some changes will be more tangible such as the increase size of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams and other changes will be behind the scenes as we introduce new working practices to make sure we have best value for money.

The LPM presents a real opportunity for greater contact with the community we serve. The 17 wards in Tower Hamlets have been grouped into four sectors each with it’s own Inspector. Who they are and which wards they cover is on our website together with how you can meet officers from your ward at any of the many Street Briefings or other scheduled events that are advertised on our website: www.met.police.uk/towerhamlets. Please come along to these events as it is important we listen and understand your concerns to help us police more effectively in Borough.


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