Crime cabin opens in Ilford

Redbridge Council’s leader says the “decimation” of police in the borough has forced the council to open its own “enforcement hub” in Ilford.

The hub, located in a portable bulding at the York Street exit of Ilford station, opened on 4th September as part of a borough-wide “crackdown” on anti-social behaviour.

Council leader Jas Athwal said by placing enforcement officers at the hub, he wants to show he’s ready to “tackle crime” and make women “feel safer”.

Cllr Athwal said: “What we are doing is picking up the pieces of austerity, of the pandemic, of the consequences of Brexit.

“We’re living, as a consequence of all those things that happened over the last 11 years, with one functioning police station in Ilford and with a police force that’s decimated in terms of numbers.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service spoke to women on York Street on 4th September, who all said they felt uncomfortable in the area at night and were pleased by the sight of enforcement officers handing out flyers.

Zeenat Butt, in her 30s, said: “It’s good that they’re trying something. Everybody thinks Ilford has gone a bit downhill.”

Sonia Fournillier, 53, who lives on York Street, said: “It’s changed a lot over the years. When I saw them I felt a bit relieved.

“It’s the hostels and the hotels, it wasn’t that bad before. You wouldn’t catch me coming out of the station.”

Redbridge Council officers and police will be based in the hub from 4:30pm to 6:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Further measures on York Street include additional street lighting and CCTV that feeds into police and council response team control rooms.

Cllr Athwal said there are also outreach teams offering help to those who are vulnerable, some of whom are housed in nearby hotels and hostels.

He added: “We’re making sure these people are being helped, but equally they’ve got to play ball.

“The ones who want help are getting help, but the ones who do not are being dealt with by the law.”

The council has also set up a Community Crime Commission that has been investigating local views on crime and will present its findings in the near future.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter