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Safer Westminster Keeping our city’s streets safe

Westminster City Council Westminster City Hall 64 Victoria Street London SW1E 6QP

020 7641 6000

Foreword Welcome to this edition of Safer Westminster. Over the past year we have worked exceptionally hard to respond to community concerns about serious youth violence. An important part of this has been our groundbreaking Your Choice programme, which helps divert young people from becoming involved in gangs, as well as support existing members as they prepare to leave gang life. We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made in our first year, but we know there are still pockets of Westminster where youth violence is still a concern for the community, and are committed to continuing our work.

Contents Young people making a difference in their communities................ 03 Enjoy the city and stay safe... 04 Myth busters............................... 05 Keep an eye on your neighbourhood............... 06 Looking after your streets..... 07 Tackling youth violence.......... 08 Domestic Abuse....................... 10 Useful numbers......................... 12 02

Safer Westminster booklet 2012

Domestic abuse is also something we are working hard to tackle, and this year I’m proud to say that with our partners, we’ve invested more money to provide support and services to victims. One of the biggest challenges that a person in an abusive relationship faces is a loss of confidence and the belief that people won’t understand what they are going through. Our campaign ‘Breaking the Silence’ is about encouraging victims to come forward because we’ll listen and we can help. You can find more information about these programmes in this booklet. It also provides a snapshot of how our wardens and crime reduction officers are working with local people and the police in your neighbourhoods, to reduce crime and help keep Westminster safe. I hope you find it useful.

Councillor Nickie Aiken Cabinet Member for Children,Young People and Community Protection

Young people making a difference in their communities There are many ways that young people in the city contribute to making Westminster a great place. One of those is the Metropolitan Police Service Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC). The VPC offers a range of opportunities for young people to enhance their lives and citizenship skills. Cadet Units meet one evening a week. Meetings usually include drill, a physical activity, a guest speaker and a talk on a police related topic. Cadet competitions are also held during the year, which test the skills cadets have developed.

The Police Cadets help out every year at the council’s annual Tea Dance for our older residents. This year they helped look after our guests and took special dancing lessons in advance so they could accompany our older residents on the dance floor.

To get involved, call Westminster’s VPC Coordinator on 0207 641 6004 or 07795 256 759 or visit

Nadja El-Hammoud joined the Westminster Volunteer Police Cadets last year “For me, the best thing about being a Cadet is going on camps and the inter-VPC competitions. These help you really get to know each other as you have to work together and rely on each other. Cadets is like a family because other cadets and staff are always there for you to turn to. I think it’s important for young people to get involved in things like VPC because ‘the youth’ are not really well presented normally - it’s good to do activities out of school to show everybody that young people are not all bad and do a lot of things that are positive in society.”

Activities for young people

Winter activities for children and young people

There are loads of activities for young people to do in the city from arts classes to sports activities from break dancing to Christmas crafts. Visit our website for more information: Safer Westminster booklet 2012


Enjoy the city and stay safe

shopping, entertainment & culture

like nowhere else

Christmas is coming and it’s the perfect time to make the most of what the West End has to offer. From art galleries and exhibitions, theatre and music, dinner and dancing, there is something for everyone to enjoy. To find out what is on offer and what events are taking place over the coming months, visit where you can also sign up for our monthly newsletter. If you’re planning an evening out or a shopping trip to the West End, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that nothing spoils your trip. • Don’t leave your mobile phone or wallet on tables where they can easily be seen • Don’t hang your bag or rucksack on the back of your chair – many bars and restaurants provide hooks on tables, use them wherever possible • Always shield your PIN when using an ATM machine and never keep your PIN with your card. 04

Safer Westminster booklet 2012

Get home safely Take a moment to plan your route home before you leave for your night out, so you know how you will be getting back if it’s a late night. There are many night buses which depart from central London throughout the night. Visit to find out more. Text CAB to 60835 to get the numbers of three local, licensed minicab firms sent to your phone. Never get in an unmarked or unbooked minicab.

Myth busters We all hear about crime and anti-social behaviour in the news but it’s hard to know what the real picture is. So here we give you some examples of common perceptions and make it a bit clearer for you: • ‘Crime rates seem to be increasing’: Overall the number of crimes reported in the city has remained much the same over the last three years. However the types of crimes occurring are changing. For instance, like other areas, Westminster has been hit by an increase in robbery, particularly in the West End. This continues to be an area of focus for the police and as such we will soon have a dedicated West End Neighbourhood Police Team to maintain pressure on crime and anti-social behaviour. • ‘Youth violence is a real problem’: After seeing significant increases in the levels of serious youth violence in the city over the last two years, this year has seen much lower levels of youth violence. Gang culture remains a concern in some parts of the city, which means our Your Choice programme is as important as ever in helping us to tackle the problem.

What you think

The West End is an exciting part of the city and attracts many visitors. However, it is also an area which attracts certain types of crime, including petty theft, drug-related activity, and unlicensed sex premises. To address this we are working with local businesses and the Metropolitan Police Service to help reduce shoplifting, theft, alcohol related disorder, anti-social behaviour, street drinking and begging. Through good networking and communication facilities, businesses are able to report and share information about potential crime in their area and help support the work of the council and the police. If you have a business in the West End and would like more information visit:

feel safe enough to walk home in the dark

Source City Survey July 2012

This summer we carried out a city survey and spoke to 2500 residents. When asked about their biggest concerns residents said dog fouling, teenagers with nothing to do and parents not taking responsibility for their children were among the top issues.

Working with businesses to reduce crime in the West End

To keep up to date with issues in Westminster that can benefit your business sign up to the council’s monthly e-newsletter: businessnewsletter@ Safer Westminster booklet 2012


Keep an eye on your neighbourhood Whether you are concerned about crime where you live, or you just want to get to know your neighbours, Neighbourhood Watch provides a way for you to get together with people in your community and help make the place where you live, safer. Every Neighbourhood Watch scheme is unique, some meet every month, some once a year, and some exchange emails as a quick and easy way to keep in touch. Watches receive regular updates from the police and council by email, and a Neighbourhood Watch newsletter by post. They are also able to speak directly to local officers to voice their concerns and find out more about crime and disorder initiatives in their local neighbourhood. To find out if you live in a Neighbourhood Watch area or if you want to set one up, call 020 7641 2117 or email neighbourhoodwatch@ 06

Safer Westminster booklet 2012

Neighbourhood Watch can only work with the dedication of its coordinators and members. Imaan J. Williams describes her role as first Watch Coordinator at Hide Tower. “I’ve been the Neighbourhood Watch coordinator since it launched in April 2009. We address local issues and make sure our neighbourhood feels safe. Recently, we had a spate of graffiti. We made the Westminster Wardens aware of this, and they have been a great help in removing it fast. “I enjoy the role because I like helping people, the challenges and giving back to my community. It’s key to establish a sense of community and to keep an eye on vulnerable residents. “There are 437 properties in our Neighbourhood Watch scheme, a Drop-In Centre and Youth Club and we continue to expand. At the moment we are circulating ‘Your Call Counts’ fridge magnets to remind people that we all have a responsibility to call the police and report any incidents or suspicious activity. “If you’re thinking of starting a neighbourhood watch, we suggest speaking to your Safer Neighbourhoods Police Team and the council; you won’t regret it!”

Looking after your streets The council is committed to keeping your streets clean and safe. Anti-social/criminal behaviour can have a devastating impact on peoples’ lives. Our Neighbourhood Crime Reduction Officers (NCROs) work with agencies such as the police to resolve these sorts of problems in the longterm and take action against the individuals responsible. We have NCROs across the city working in each ward. They provide a straightforward route for both partners and residents to report crime and disorder problems.

So what can you do to help? If you would like to get in touch with one of our NCROs you can call 020 7641 1085. You can report any environmental problems to the council by calling 020 7641 2000. To report an issue to the police that is not an emergency please call 101.

A day in the life of Jim Howard, NCRO for the Queen’s Park and Harrow Road areas. “I start work at 8am. Today I’m at Queen’s Park Gardens because there have been some complaints about dog fouling, and there are issues with waste being dumped at the big black bins by the Ilbert Street/Third Avenue entrance. I get our waste and recycling and our parks team to visit the site and work out if we could set up a mini-recycling centre at the site. At 10am I visit Lydford estate where there have been reports of anti-social behaviour by some individuals in the area. I talk to landlords on the estate, the police and City West Homes among others and we agree that a notice of possession will be served to the individuals in question. After lunch I go to Elgin Avenue to check on a premises which is believed to be operating as a shisha café. I speak to our premises licensing and planning enforcement teams and the police and we agree that we need to speak to residents to find out if they are having any problems in the area. At around 3.30pm I go back to Queen’s Park Gardens where I see a woman whose dog is fouling on the public side of the park. As she has already been issued a warning I have to explain to her that she’ll now face prosecution. Then at 4.30pm I go back to the office and write my report for the day.” Safer Westminster booklet 2012


Tackling youth violence

One aspect of the programme offers specialist support to young women involved with gangs. The feedback from the sessions has been positive:

“The workshops opened my eyes” “I learnt how people can take advantage of you without you even knowing they’re doing it” “[Since the workshops] I’ve stopped doing a lot of stuff” “I used to hold things for boys [weapons / drugs] but now I don’t” “I have a lot more respect for myself” 08

Safer Westminster booklet 2012

We know that serious youth violence is a real concern for residents in some neighbourhoods. We’ve been working hard to tackle this issue through our Your Choice gang programme, which we launched in 2011. We are already seeing results from this work, but recognise there is still more to do. Your Choice gives young people and their families a clear choice: leave a life of crime and participate in the programmes available or face serious consequences. The programme brings together teams from the council, the Metropolitan Police, the Probation Service and the voluntary sector, to support young people aged 10 to 24 years. Their work includes specialist support which helps young people leave gangs and secure employment and training. The teams also work with neighbouring boroughs of Brent, and Kensington and Chelsea, to tackle gang violence that occurs across borough boundaries. If you have concerns about serious youth violence or gangs in your area and want to find out more email: or call 020 7641 1085. For more information visit:

Your Choice provides: • Support for 30-40 young people over one year to end their offending and their involvement with gangs • Help for 100 young people into employment • Support for young children across all schools in Westminster to help them avoid gang life • Support for gangaffected families through our flagship Family Recovery Programme

Your Choice Bus We recently visited Lisson Green and Warwick estates on the Your Choice Bus, to talk to people in the area about their concerns and raise awareness of the programme. Yasin, 16, has received help through the Your Choice programme to get back on track and to college. “There are a lot of kids I care about. I wouldn’t want to see them go down the wrong path. I want them to be led the right way, the way I follow. Days like this are good for kids who are ready to engage”. We’ll be visting Churchill and other areas around South Westminster in 2013.

• Training for young people involved in gangs who live in the northwest of the city to become peer mediators so they can mediate conflict themselves • Help to move victims or perpetrators of serious youth violence out of the city quickly, whilst providing intensive support • Specialist workers to support and work with young women affected by gangs • A range of enforcement options for people who choose to persist in a life of crime Safer Westminster booklet 2012


Domestic Abuse Support and advice in Westminster We’re committed to breaking the silence around domestic abuse and helping anyone who is suffering. Domestic abuse is controlling or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between people aged 16 and over who are or have been partners or family members. This can include: • Physical abuse, for instance being hit or shoved as well as extreme violence • Financial abuse such as controlling your access to money or taking your benefits • Sexual abuse of any kind • Psychological and emotional abuse, such as being put down or being told you are useless (name calling) • Controlling behaviour, not being allowed to leave the house or use the phone.

Remember: • You are not alone • You are not to blame • You cannot change someone else’s behaviour • Ignoring violence is dangerous • Domestic abuse affects children too • There is life after an abusive relationship • It is your right to be free from violence. Men can also be the victim of domestic violence. For help contact the Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327 10

Safer Westminster booklet 2012

We can help you There are several ways that the council and our partners can help you to get advice and support in dealing with domestic abuse. ADVANCE is an independent charity that provides 24-hour support and assistance to women who are victims of domestic violence within Westminster. Jane* was in an abusive relationship with her husband who was a frequent user of cocaine. One day he physically assaulted her and she fled her home with her two young children. Jane was referred to ADVANCE who helped her to realise that although the physical assault had been a one-off, her husband’s treatment of her throughout their relationship had other abusive tendencies, such as withholding finances and humiliating her in public. Support from ADVANCE gave Jane the confidence to leave her husband and re-establish her life in a positive way.

Useful numbers National 24-hour Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247 If you are in immediate danger, dial 999 Victim Support Westminster 020 7828 4142 Police Community Safety Unit 020 7321 9382 / 020 7321 9318 Domestic Violence Intervention Project 020 7633 9181 Forced marriage unit (government assistance for people abroad and in the UK) 0207 008 0151 Forced marriage and honour violence helpline (counselling, support and advice) 0800 5999 247 Childline 0800 11 11 Broken Rainbow (helpline for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people) 08452 60 44 60 “I can’t believe the support that is out there. I was shocked and staggered at the understanding from everyone that I was referred to. I was shocked that I wasn’t crazy – that after all these years of abuse – people understood and didn’t judge me for staying with him, they got it! The relief was tremendous and I can never thank you all for being there. I am now excited about the future and I have my goals for myself and my children.” * victim’s name has been changed

Rape Crisis Centre 0207 619 1369

Domestic abuse surgeries If you are experiencing any form of abuse, or have questions about abuse, talk to us. You can drop in, without an appointment, and get impartial, expert advice at the Westminster Domestic Abuse Surgery. Every Thursday, 9am – 12 midday, Bayswater Children’s Centre, St. Mary of the Angels RC School, Shrewsbury Road, W2 5PR. Free crèche available. For more information visit: westminster. or email: Safer Westminster booklet 2012


Useful Numbers Safer Neighbourhoods


You can find your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team at: saferneighbourhoods

In an emergency, always dial 999. For non-emergency calls, or if you would like to speak to your local police, call 101.

Other useful numbers Environmental Action Line: 020 7641 2000 Neighbourhood Watch: 020 7641 2117 Council switchboard: 020 7641 6000 Victim Support: 020 7828 4142 Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111

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Safer Westminster  
Safer Westminster  

Information about how the council is keeping your city's streets safe.