West London Parks Police join forces
Wednesday April 10, 2013
A new specialist team of parks constables are now keeping 87 parks and open spaces across two west London boroughs safe.
Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) have combined their two parks constabulary teams and the new team started patrolling last week.
The combined team, which is now 33 officers strong, will deliver an improved service including faster response times and more joined up working, according to the councils. A single management structure means that duplicated middle and senior management roles have been stripped away to keep costs down for taxpayers.
The new Parks Police Services will operate 365 days a year from 7:00am until midnight in the summer and from 7:00am until 10pm in the winter. The plans will improve efficiency, for example by having more resilience during major events such as the boat race and football matches, while also making savings.
There are 87 parks and open spaces in the two boroughs (54 in H&F and 33 in RBKC) – including 13 award winning ‘Green Flag’ parks, which are nationally recognised as being some of the best open spaces in the UK. Parks in both boroughs have also been awarded the Mayor of London’s prestigious safer parks award.
Parks Police duties include: reporting crime within the parks; detaining offenders; enforcing byelaws and dog control orders; security at park events; dog chipping, dog shows and cycle marking; attending park user group meetings; locking certain parks and lost property in parks and open spaces.
Officers are equipped with the latest ultra-high frequency portable radios, with GPS tracking facility and interactive mapping. Body-worn cameras are carried and used for evidence gathering, especially for dog fouling and litter offences. Officers can issue fines for enviro-crimes and all officers are first aid trained.
Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council Deputy Leader, says: “By combining the best of our old Parks Police services into one force we are creating a specialist team for west London. Our awarding winning parks and open spaces will remain safe places for law-abiding residents to enjoy themselves and we will continue to clamp down on the minority intent on causing trouble or committing a crime.”
Cllr Nick Paget Brown, the Royal Borough’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment said. “Our parks are hugely valued, safe and pleasant places to visit and we want to ensure that they remain so. The new combined Parks Police service will be able to response quicker and help maintain the high standards we have.”
RBKC, H&F and Westminster councils launched ‘Tri-borough’ proposals to share some services in October 2010 with the aim of combining back office and management functions to protect front-line services. The number of senior and middle managers is reducing and the councils are on track to save £40million a year by 2015/16.