Harrow police watchdog to be replaced

A police watchdog run by members of the community for more than 30 years is set to be replaced under plans from the Mayor of London.

The Harrow Police and Community Consultative Group (HPCCG) will hold its final meeting in March before it is replaced by new Safer Neighbourhood Ward panels.

Committee members say they are upset at being replaced by the new panels, ordered by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) at City Hall and due to be introduced in April.

HPCCG chairman Baldev Sharma, who has been a member for more than 20 years, said: “We have been here to hold the police to account in the area and it is sad to see it go.

“It has been a great venture. The police were made aware of what’s going on in the area and we were able to ensure the safety of the people in Harrow was their priority.”

Panel members will be elected by public vote after individuals put themselves forward for the roles in the coming months.

Mr Sharma said he was concerned the new set-up would not be as effective as the HPCCG but MOPAC insists the move is positive.

A MOPAC spokesman said: “The purpose for establishing neighbourhood teams in each borough is to give Londoners and victims a greater voice.

“A key part of their role will be to monitor police performance and confidence in the police, which they will do by opening meetings to the public, monitoring feedback from victims of crime and accessing police data and reports about incidents in their area.

“To drive this forward in Harrow, 12 members of the community will be selected by the borough to form their safer neighbourhood team.

"Young people, victims of crime and the local authority must be represented, but the purpose is to let boroughs decide for themselves who will make up the panel and how they will deliver their responsibilities.

“This approach to give the local community far greater involvement in policing their area was agreed by members of the existing Harrow Police and Community Consultative Group at a meeting held by Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, in October.”

Comments (11)

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3:47pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Cllr Husain Akhtar says...

No surprise but then while Baldev means well, he has been let down in a number of ways to a point where keeping the group effective and alive becomes quite difficult!
Interesting that the structure and organisation of the 'panel' now suggested are similar to those implemented in 1984 when the Police Committee was reconstituted as Harrow Police and Community Consultative Group!
No surprise but then while Baldev means well, he has been let down in a number of ways to a point where keeping the group effective and alive becomes quite difficult! Interesting that the structure and organisation of the 'panel' now suggested are similar to those implemented in 1984 when the Police Committee was reconstituted as Harrow Police and Community Consultative Group! Cllr Husain Akhtar

6:19pm Thu 12 Dec 13

pravinshah1 says...

As a founder member some 30 years ago, I’m sorry but not surprised at the demise of HPCCG. Several factors contributed over the years. The internal weakness and pro-institutional collusive position rather than a community welfare consideration made an external fatal blow possible and successful.

Also, some in the organisation failed to realise that organisations don’t make the leaders but it is the leaders who make an organisation. Similarly it was not realised that using the HPCCG as a platform to unduly praising some institutions or lecturing in the opinion columns of the local newspapers are not adequate means to win any credibility or personal recognition.

Therefore, the HPCCG lost its spirit, role and effectiveness many years ago. What would be buried in a corporate funeral in March would be its body.
As a founder member some 30 years ago, I’m sorry but not surprised at the demise of HPCCG. Several factors contributed over the years. The internal weakness and pro-institutional collusive position rather than a community welfare consideration made an external fatal blow possible and successful. Also, some in the organisation failed to realise that organisations don’t make the leaders but it is the leaders who make an organisation. Similarly it was not realised that using the HPCCG as a platform to unduly praising some institutions or lecturing in the opinion columns of the local newspapers are not adequate means to win any credibility or personal recognition. Therefore, the HPCCG lost its spirit, role and effectiveness many years ago. What would be buried in a corporate funeral in March would be its body. pravinshah1

4:39pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Sonoo Malkani says...

Just to make things adequately clear.The HPCCG committee members,like all the Community Engagement Group (CPEGS)committee members London-wide,have resisted the closure of CPEGs since this was mooted at least 18 months back.Harrow is not alone in this.

This was a natural response by members of public who had worked assiduously for such a long period since theinception of CPEGS and raised huge concerns about proper community engagement,the sort we have become accustomed to.

It would be wrong to pretend that we the HPCCG simply sat back like lambs to the slaughter and allowed this to go ahead,without questioning what it would mean in real terms.

The MOPAC made it very clear that with stringent budget cuts in Policing and all allied activities CPEGS would lose ALL funding and that it was the choice tof CPEGS to operate as they saw fit and make alternative funding arrangements.How easy would that be in today's world?Easier said than done!

Some members of our HPCCG committee were in favour of going it alone.In fact,some CPEGS have already set up independently as a CHARITY.They prefer to go their own way and have a lot of support .We have struggled for the past two years minus funding!It was no joke trying to stay afloat .We took on the challenge only because we realised how important community engagement is for ALL the people of Harrow.

Our Chair,Baldev Sharma,took the preferred option of trying to get some funding for Harrow while CPEGS were still around but failed to secure any.

The best option the CPEG Chairs London -wide Forum( LCP2 )decided to pursue was to study the plans for forming the new replacement body(SNB) and fight for better "terms and Conditions"so to speak ,before the new Safer Neighbourhood Boardswere set up.They should be congratulated for their invaluable input and for achieving so much.

They have been consulting at regular intervals with their members ,The Police & Crime Committee and the MOPAC.The LCP2 has been instrumental in helping craft the new SNBs.I was party to the initial public consultation headed by Cllr Steve O'Connell at City Hall last year.

Our Chair,Baldev Sharma has been dealing with it since and corresponding with MOPAC throughout the past two years.I don't know how some feel we have been non-existent since years!

We have now arrived at a point where I believe ALL but one CPEG has agreed to close down and have agreed to work with MOPAC to help keep our London boroughs safe.

We must appreciate this is an unknown entity but equally we should be willing to keep an OPEN MIND and ASSIST in helping it succeed ---for OUR OWN GOOD.

For this reason the committee of the HPCCG voted overwhelmingly in favour of attending the MOPAC meeting on October 28 ,in the Council Chamber,headed by Leader of Harrow Council,Cllr Hall,accompanied by Community Safety Manager Mike Howesand the MOPAC team ---JIm tate and Lynne Abrams.The Borough Commander,Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens was present throughout and participated as well.

We made constructive suggestions to the MOPAC and were delighted to have their agreement to have the SNB meetings in public every quarter and that they will allow 12 LAY members,not 4,as originally suggested,to make our local SNB representative of the diverse communities of Harrow.
The meeting was a success and a good two-way dialogue and rapport easily established.Most encouraging!

Naturally,it is human nature to view with suspicion something that is unfamiliar .I won't pretend.We are still concerned how effective it might be compared with what we have had in place for the past 30 years.

The best thing we could do is to sign up to turn up religiously to these meetings and make our Police,Council and their partners as accountable as possible, sensitively using whatever means we have at our disposal,to fashion our SNB to one of the best if not the top one in Harrow.

It is a big ask but thoroughly achievable with positive mind-sets and well-wishers, working hand in hand with the Borough Commander to make his vision of Harrow as the safest London Borough a reality.He is fully committed to making this work.

I feel deeply saddened that there are a minority of those who wish us ill and spend their time bad-mouthing everything we have achieved thus far.Best to forgive and forget and MOVE FORWARD,concentratin
g on constructive ,creative outcomes for our safety.

I must remind Pravin Shah that HPCCG NEVER lost its fighting spirit its role or effectiveness.Dream on !

We have simply made the decision to make a dignified exit in the larger interests of the people of Harrow.There was no "corporate body".We are still experiencing the love and respect from our members and the local community and have no axe to grind with anybody.We must rise above pettiness and transcend personal boundaries.

I humbly request that we all move forward with the times, graciously,with malice to none.Let us all be PART OF THE SOLUTION and not of the problem.Commit to being WINNERS and we WILL win.

Time will tell how things pan out.We can always review and improvise as we go along,fine-tuning, till we get our engagement to level which we all enjoy and can sustain.
Just to make things adequately clear.The HPCCG committee members,like all the Community Engagement Group (CPEGS)committee members London-wide,have resisted the closure of CPEGs since this was mooted at least 18 months back.Harrow is not alone in this. This was a natural response by members of public who had worked assiduously for such a long period since theinception of CPEGS and raised huge concerns about proper community engagement,the sort we have become accustomed to. It would be wrong to pretend that we the HPCCG simply sat back like lambs to the slaughter and allowed this to go ahead,without questioning what it would mean in real terms. The MOPAC made it very clear that with stringent budget cuts in Policing and all allied activities CPEGS would lose ALL funding and that it was the choice tof CPEGS to operate as they saw fit and make alternative funding arrangements.How easy would that be in today's world?Easier said than done! Some members of our HPCCG committee were in favour of going it alone.In fact,some CPEGS have already set up independently as a CHARITY.They prefer to go their own way and have a lot of support .We have struggled for the past two years minus funding!It was no joke trying to stay afloat .We took on the challenge only because we realised how important community engagement is for ALL the people of Harrow. Our Chair,Baldev Sharma,took the preferred option of trying to get some funding for Harrow while CPEGS were still around but failed to secure any. The best option the CPEG Chairs London -wide Forum( LCP2 )decided to pursue was to study the plans for forming the new replacement body(SNB) and fight for better "terms and Conditions"so to speak ,before the new Safer Neighbourhood Boardswere set up.They should be congratulated for their invaluable input and for achieving so much. They have been consulting at regular intervals with their members ,The Police & Crime Committee and the MOPAC.The LCP2 has been instrumental in helping craft the new SNBs.I was party to the initial public consultation headed by Cllr Steve O'Connell at City Hall last year. Our Chair,Baldev Sharma has been dealing with it since and corresponding with MOPAC throughout the past two years.I don't know how some feel we have been non-existent since years! We have now arrived at a point where I believe ALL but one CPEG has agreed to close down and have agreed to work with MOPAC to help keep our London boroughs safe. We must appreciate this is an unknown entity but equally we should be willing to keep an OPEN MIND and ASSIST in helping it succeed ---for OUR OWN GOOD. For this reason the committee of the HPCCG voted overwhelmingly in favour of attending the MOPAC meeting on October 28 ,in the Council Chamber,headed by Leader of Harrow Council,Cllr Hall,accompanied by Community Safety Manager Mike Howesand the MOPAC team ---JIm tate and Lynne Abrams.The Borough Commander,Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens was present throughout and participated as well. We made constructive suggestions to the MOPAC and were delighted to have their agreement to have the SNB meetings in public every quarter and that they will allow 12 LAY members,not 4,as originally suggested,to make our local SNB representative of the diverse communities of Harrow. The meeting was a success and a good two-way dialogue and rapport easily established.Most encouraging! Naturally,it is human nature to view with suspicion something that is unfamiliar .I won't pretend.We are still concerned how effective it might be compared with what we have had in place for the past 30 years. The best thing we could do is to sign up to turn up religiously to these meetings and make our Police,Council and their partners as accountable as possible, sensitively using whatever means we have at our disposal,to fashion our SNB to one of the best if not the top one in Harrow. It is a big ask but thoroughly achievable with positive mind-sets and well-wishers, working hand in hand with the Borough Commander to make his vision of Harrow as the safest London Borough a reality.He is fully committed to making this work. I feel deeply saddened that there are a minority of those who wish us ill and spend their time bad-mouthing everything we have achieved thus far.Best to forgive and forget and MOVE FORWARD,concentratin g on constructive ,creative outcomes for our safety. I must remind Pravin Shah that HPCCG NEVER lost its fighting spirit its role or effectiveness.Dream on ! We have simply made the decision to make a dignified exit in the larger interests of the people of Harrow.There was no "corporate body".We are still experiencing the love and respect from our members and the local community and have no axe to grind with anybody.We must rise above pettiness and transcend personal boundaries. I humbly request that we all move forward with the times, graciously,with malice to none.Let us all be PART OF THE SOLUTION and not of the problem.Commit to being WINNERS and we WILL win. Time will tell how things pan out.We can always review and improvise as we go along,fine-tuning, till we get our engagement to level which we all enjoy and can sustain. Sonoo Malkani

9:19pm Fri 13 Dec 13

pravinshah1 says...

Sonoo Malkani, you need to do some research on the subject before making such comments as above and you will find that you are incorrect. You also need to remember that you do not live in an era where you believe anything you hear, read or see. You need to learn to read between lines. Either way it is wasteful of tax payers’ money in creating collusive groups.
Sonoo Malkani, you need to do some research on the subject before making such comments as above and you will find that you are incorrect. You also need to remember that you do not live in an era where you believe anything you hear, read or see. You need to learn to read between lines. Either way it is wasteful of tax payers’ money in creating collusive groups. pravinshah1

11:01pm Fri 13 Dec 13

jackdaw says...

As one who has attended HPCCG meetings, i have found that they reported the polices statistics and encouraged members of the public to raise issues.

I cannot ever remember anyone called Pravin Shah attending any meetings and i do not remember him raising any issues. Who is Pravin Shah? He comes across as a moaning Minnie. I hope he will attend the new Safer Neighbourhood Board meetings and act as a critical friend to ensure the borough gets a good policing deal.
As one who has attended HPCCG meetings, i have found that they reported the polices statistics and encouraged members of the public to raise issues. I cannot ever remember anyone called Pravin Shah attending any meetings and i do not remember him raising any issues. Who is Pravin Shah? He comes across as a moaning Minnie. I hope he will attend the new Safer Neighbourhood Board meetings and act as a critical friend to ensure the borough gets a good policing deal. jackdaw

8:47am Sat 14 Dec 13

pravinshah1 says...

Jackdaw, you need to do some research before making such comments. You are a newbie unlike me. if you look up Harrow Observer and Council archives you will find out who I am.

Jackdaw, calling someone a moaning Minnie you show what kind of person you are. You need to grow up and accept different views.
Jackdaw, you need to do some research before making such comments. You are a newbie unlike me. if you look up Harrow Observer and Council archives you will find out who I am. Jackdaw, calling someone a moaning Minnie you show what kind of person you are. You need to grow up and accept different views. pravinshah1

9:20am Sat 14 Dec 13

Sonoo Malkani says...

Pravinshah1 Perhaps you should be big enough to accept criticism when you are so keen to dole it out freely as if you are the Oracle and everybody else is totally naive.

In any case,these SNBs are here to stay so it makes sense to work with what IS there and not waste public time and money stirring up a hornet's nest.Syop creating confusion in the minds of the public who are anxious as it is when they are in this period of transition.

As Jackdaw has suggested why don't you attend the SNB meetings and make a contribution as a "critical friend" rather than engage in personal politics and endless slagging matches which ,frankly ,yield nothing of value.You have suggested Jackdaw grow up.Maybe it's time to take your own medicine!
Pravinshah1 Perhaps you should be big enough to accept criticism when you are so keen to dole it out freely as if you are the Oracle and everybody else is totally naive. In any case,these SNBs are here to stay so it makes sense to work with what IS there and not waste public time and money stirring up a hornet's nest.Syop creating confusion in the minds of the public who are anxious as it is when they are in this period of transition. As Jackdaw has suggested why don't you attend the SNB meetings and make a contribution as a "critical friend" rather than engage in personal politics and endless slagging matches which ,frankly ,yield nothing of value.You have suggested Jackdaw grow up.Maybe it's time to take your own medicine! Sonoo Malkani

10:15am Sat 14 Dec 13

jackdaw says...

Pravin Shah

You use the words "collusive position." What do you mean by the use of these words? Are you accusing Harrow Police and the HPCCG of being involved in skullduggery? I have never seen any evidence of this and would advise the police and HPCCG to sue you for libel. I think you should retract the words and offer an apology.

You should start to attend meetings and offer sensible suggestions as to how Commander Oven's vision of making Harrow the safest London borough could be achieved
Pravin Shah You use the words "collusive position." What do you mean by the use of these words? Are you accusing Harrow Police and the HPCCG of being involved in skullduggery? I have never seen any evidence of this and would advise the police and HPCCG to sue you for libel. I think you should retract the words and offer an apology. You should start to attend meetings and offer sensible suggestions as to how Commander Oven's vision of making Harrow the safest London borough could be achieved jackdaw

2:01am Mon 16 Dec 13

Sonoo Malkani says...

WELL SAID,Jackdaw!|People should be mindful of words which can subtly hurt our public, insinuating something underhand is happening.and lead them up the garden path!

These,sadly, are attempts to disrupt and rock the boat even before it sets off on its maiden trip.Not at all helpful, nor public-spirited.No one can pretend we KNOW what the new Safer Neighbourhood Board will deliver with any guarantee.We can only make an educated guess and do whatever we can to ensure it is made "fit for purpose".

Each borough will have a set template to follow,to ensure they have a structure to conform to which will be standard practice.The MOPAC have accepted that ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL.

So,we (HARROW)have flexibility woven into this structure allowing the selection of 12 LAY members who are best qualified and are deeply committed to delivering best outcomes for our borough.Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water!

Please stop casting aspersions and let the SNB come into force.We will have the opportunity to review and judge it by ots PERFORMANCE in due course.Please stop all this talk of "doom and gloom" and come forward with constructive contributions.We could do with that!
WELL SAID,Jackdaw!|People should be mindful of words which can subtly hurt our public, insinuating something underhand is happening.and lead them up the garden path! These,sadly, are attempts to disrupt and rock the boat even before it sets off on its maiden trip.Not at all helpful, nor public-spirited.No one can pretend we KNOW what the new Safer Neighbourhood Board will deliver with any guarantee.We can only make an educated guess and do whatever we can to ensure it is made "fit for purpose". Each borough will have a set template to follow,to ensure they have a structure to conform to which will be standard practice.The MOPAC have accepted that ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL. So,we (HARROW)have flexibility woven into this structure allowing the selection of 12 LAY members who are best qualified and are deeply committed to delivering best outcomes for our borough.Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water! Please stop casting aspersions and let the SNB come into force.We will have the opportunity to review and judge it by ots PERFORMANCE in due course.Please stop all this talk of "doom and gloom" and come forward with constructive contributions.We could do with that! Sonoo Malkani

6:55am Mon 16 Dec 13

rabbitz says...

Good god what a load of rubbish less talk more action is needed
Good god what a load of rubbish less talk more action is needed rabbitz

11:06am Mon 16 Dec 13

jackdaw says...

Rabbitz

What action is it you want to see? Please attend the public police meetings and let the audence and the police know what you would like to see done.Also remember the police have to obey the laws of the land whilst criminals choose not to do so.
What suggestions do you have to make Commander Oven's vision of making Harrow the safest London borough a reality?
Rabbitz What action is it you want to see? Please attend the public police meetings and let the audence and the police know what you would like to see done.Also remember the police have to obey the laws of the land whilst criminals choose not to do so. What suggestions do you have to make Commander Oven's vision of making Harrow the safest London borough a reality? jackdaw

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