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Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe tackles questions from Bexley residents

PUBLISHED: 16:49 17 May 2012

Met commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe

Met commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe

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The Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe took some tough questions during a grilling from Bexley and Bromley residents in Sidcup.

London’s top cop gave a presentation to around 150 people in the hall of Christ the King St Mary’s Sixth Form College, on Chislehurst Road, before take a range of questions on residents individual complaints and more wider concerns about communication and reliability of the police.

One such issue was raised by Denise Johnson, a neighbourhood watch coordinator for New Road in Abbey Wood, who lives on a street which suffered five burglaries in the space of a couple of months earlier this year.

She said: “The initial response was good but everything which followed that was a complete disaster.

“The forensics team were terrible and didn’t know that there had been a spate of burglaries in the street.

The Commissioner responded: “It’s hard for me to comment on individual cases but officers should definitely be informed.

“It is important for the borough commanders to be a visible presence and hopefully prevent incidents like this happening.”

Other subjects which were put to Mr Hogan-Howe included the closure of Sidcup police station and a lack of a visible police presence in the area.

The meeting was chaired by James Cleverly, the London Assembly member for Bexley and Bromley, and was attended by the respective borough commanders for Bexley and Bromley, Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa and Detective Chief Superintendent Steph Roberts, and the Met’s south area commander, Commander David Zinzan.

Mr Hogan-Howe placed a great deal of emphasis on the importance of borough commanders and how they should be a point of contact.

He said: “It is hard for me to comment on individual cases which is why borough commanders are key in giving local leadership.

“If we’re not giving them resources then that’s our fault, but that’s all we can do.”

Chief Superintendent Olisa said the meeting had taught him a great deal about his priorities in Bexley, as he reflects on his first month in the job.

He said: “It’s very rare you get to see the Commissioner in your borough so this was a great opportunity.

“From the response of the people I didn’t get the impression that we’re bad at our jobs but better communication would definitely make our jobs easier.

“The main challenge facing Bexley is maintaining the perception of safety which has been built up by my predecessor.”

For a detailed round-up of the Commissioner’s Roadshow see next week’s Bexley Times, out on May 24.

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