21 May 2010

Our local police team...

Last night I went along to our local safer neighbourhood panel meeting. These meetings are held so that people living in Peckham Rye can get a chance to speak to our local police team, and provide them with feedback on issues relating to crime and anti-social behaviour. I was extremely impressed with the detailed knowledge that the local police team has built up from patrolling Peckham Rye on a daily basis. On issues as varied as burglary, anti-social behaviour on buses and dangerous dogs the police team were able to give us a detailed picture of the issues in Peckham Rye and how they have been dealing with them.

One issue which I had been asked to bring up at the meeting by several residents was that of dangerous dogs. On the doorstep during the election campaign it became clear that a number of parents with young children were concerned about the aggressive behaviour of dogs which were not on leads around the Park and Common. The local police team have already been taking action to deal with this issue which has lead to two people receiving convictions and having their dogs confiscated.

The advice that the police asked me to pass on was that in order to take action on this issue, the first thing they need is specific information. If you experience an incident in which you feel that a dog is not being kept under control and has the potential to endanger the public, make sure you keep a desciption of the dog and the owner, and the nature of the dog’s behaviour. The police were very clear that people simply walking their dog without a lead is not (and shouldn’t be) an offence. It is information about the aggressive behaviour of a dog and its potential to injure people which will help them to take action. The dog does not have to actually hurt someone before they can intervene, but they do need to know if it has been exhibiting behaviour that leads them to believe that it may be a danger to people. If you want to get in touch with them, take a look at the link above.

Of course, it goes without saying that if you should actually see an offence taking place your first action should be to dial 999. It's also important to say that although there obviously are some incidents with dogs with have caused concern, the vast majority of dog owners in Peckham Rye are behaving in a responsible way. It's the irresponsible few which the local police need information on.

Victoria, Renata and I are looking forward to working closely with the local police team, supporting their work where we can and providing feedback to them from local residents that we speak to.

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