By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter
A dedicated team of council officers have taken on the task of restoring Shepherd’s Bush Green into a haven for locals.
In recent months, the Green has become a no-go zone as drug users, gangs and drunks have moved in.
But Hammersmith and Fulham’s Law Enforcement Team (LET) is striving to make it a space for everyone to enjoy.
They patrol the borough’s trouble hotspots, and although their powers are limited – they are unable to detain people up to no good – the intelligence they provide in the form of pictures and witness accounts helps Met teams with criminal investigations.
The team also provides the council with real-time information on fly-tipping incidents, as well as issues with local infrastructure like faulty footpaths or damaged boulders.
But their biggest task is cracking down on antisocial behaviour – particularly at the Green.
“We wear bright yellow. We want to be seen and to be a deterrent to any antisocial behaviour,” lead LET officer Neil Morrison said.
“When there’s someone doing something they shouldn’t be, half the time you approach them, they’re up and they’ve moved off before we even get to them. For us, we’ve done our role, we’ve stopped that issue or incident.”
A recent scour of the Green unearthed a crack pipe, empty pill packets and lighters near a playground. Users sometimes leave their kit full of drugs in the park and wander off.
Others use the space for drug and weapon deals, with instances of knives being found strapped under the roundabout and slide in the playpark.
The officer said: “Some weapons are hidden under chairs or slides, or people stash their drugs under fencing.
“There were also reports of people finding things in the sand. One area was closed off by police for a deep clean because of so much drug paraphernalia.
“It 100 per cent annoys me, because there are people in this area that don’t have access to an open space and they come here to enjoy some but they can’t.
“The council is trying to deal with it because we want people enjoying our green spaces.”
Since the team formed in April 2021, they have conducted some 85,000 patrols in the borough and launched 5,000 investigations following tip-offs from residents.
In troubled spots like the Green, they’ve ramped up patrols to three a day. A number of tables and chairs have been removed from the space as well, to stop gangs and drunks from congregating.
Hammersmith and Fulham council leader Cllr Stephen Cowan said: “It is not usually a council’s job to fight crime. In Hammersmith and Fulham we have taken the view that keeping people safe is always our first priority.
“To support the police, the Hammersmith and Fulham Law Enforcement Team patrol our streets, collect vital intelligence, initiate actions such as partial closure orders when crime hotspots emerge, and crack down on crime.”
Pictured top: A LET officer searching under a log on Shepherd’s Bush Green in a hunt for drugs and weapon stashes (Picture: Hammersmith and Fulham council)
Subscribe to Blog via Email
Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:
“A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or, please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ