Colliers Wood Meeting After Local Unrest

Need to improve local communcation

Colliers Wood residents gathered on Saturday (August 13) to talk about the recent night of disorder and what can be done to prevent it happening again.

At least three shops were set ablaze and many looted in the Priory and Tandem shopping centres when unrest spread across London on Monday (August 8).

Saturday's meeting, attended by more than 100 people, at the community centre was organised by Keith Spears, Chair of the Colliers Wood Residents Association and founder of Making Colliers Wood Happy group.

Community leaders, including local MP Siobhain McDonagh, the council leader Stephen Alambritis, council chief executive Ged Curran, Merton's London Fire Brigade Borough Commander Jane Philpott, ward councillors and Merton Chamber of Commerce representatives were among those attending.

Pete Dobson, Superintendant for Merton Police Operations, who was also there, said: "I was extremely pleased to receive so much support from the local community after explaining how the events unfolded locally.

"There was also praise for the local partnership that came together in a united response to the incidents as well as thanks for the local volunteers that came out to help."

Much of the meeting centred on getting the area back to normal and then how to build community cohesion and public-spiritedness.

Suggestions included a willingness for the business community to have closer links with the police and local authority, including quicker lines of communications.

Superintendant Dobson said the CommunitySafe (free text messaging alert/advise/inform service) already has in excess of 24,000 email contacts amongst local residents, and it could be extended to include business and retailers.

He added: "Police are still working hard to arrest offenders and much of this work involves search warrants and detective support from New Scotland Yard. Our local authority CCTV is being scrutinised and we will be publicising many more images of suspects in the coming days, weeks and even months. This inquiry will go on until we have we exhausted every possible lead.

"I am now making plans for the police to return to near normal levels of policing. It is not a realistic option for my staff to continue working 12 hour shifts without any days off for the remainder of the summer, but I will be making sure we have sufficient resilience that we can quickly up our numbers at short notice if needed.

"The borough remains calm and confidence is slowly gaining momentum - if you didn't know about Monday's disorder then you would think everything was quite normal except may be the extra police on visible patrols."

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August 14, 2011