CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Kilburn High Road ‘needs its own police team’

Top cop said idea to bring back squad is 'part of his thinking'

03 October, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

FRESH calls are being made to revive a dedicated police squad – the “Spine” – to Kilburn amid concerns about stabbings, shoplifting and businesses having their windows smashed.

The team had once operated across the Camden and Brent borough boundaries to tackle the Kilburn High Road. But it was disbanded when officers moved to new roles without being replaced.

John Kilvington, chairman of the Kilburn Ward Safer Neighbourhood Panel, told the New Journal last week: “The demise of the team and the return to policing by two forces has led to higher criminal and anti-social behaviour in our ward and adjoining areas as witnessed by residents. A return to a Kilburn High Road team would play a part in reversing this trend.”

He added: “The Kilburn High Road team was set up after a long campaign as many people believed that having different forces dealing with each side of the road was not conducive to good policing.”

Agnes Peyser, who was at the Safer Neighbourhood Panel meeting and lives near Kilburn High Road, told the New Journal: “Residents and users of the high road are confused as to who to contact when there are a policing issues.

Dealers, drug users, shoplifters, gangs and criminals do not care about administrative borders.” Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli, the borough commander for Camden and Islington, said relaunching the team would “absolutely be part of” his thinking on allocating officers.

Sixty new officers are expected to start in Camden and Islington.

Chief Supt Kohli said: “When I say it’s part of my thinking, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen because I’ve got lots of parts of the business to service.”

Speaking at Holborn police station to the New Journal, he added: “This floor of the station is the safeguarding floor. They deal with CSE [child sexual exploitation], domestic abuse, rape – they are stretched, so they will say ‘we need more people’.

“But these stretches are much less now, as we are starting to get people through.”

The New  Journal reported earlier this year how police we trying to trace a man who attacked people at random on the Kilburn High Road in April.

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