Agenda and minutes

Social Inclusion and Community Safety Policy and Accountability Committee - Tuesday, 19th July, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1 (2nd Floor) - 3 Shortlands, Hammersmith, W6 8DA. View directions

Contact: Bathsheba Mall  Email:

No. Item






Declarations of interest

If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.


At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter. The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.


Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.


Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee.




Welcome by the Chair

Welcome and introduction by Councillor Nikos Souslous, Chair.


Councillor Nikos Souslous welcomed everyone to the first Social Inclusion and Community Safety and Policy and Accountability Committee meeting.  The Administration manifesto promises to make the council ‘ruthlessly inclusive’ and compassionate, bringing communities and people together and to do as much as possible to make H&F a kind and happy place to be. It also places public safety front and centre and keeping resident’s safe will be a top priority for the new Administration. Councillor Souslous set out his expectations to balance community safety and social inclusion themed items on the agenda and invited members of the committee to consider and suggest areas for inclusion within the committees work programme, Agenda Item 6.


Refugee Update

This a verbal update from the Director Covid-19 & Refugee Lead.


Councillor Souslous introduced the refugee verbal update on council activities supporting refugees from Afghanistan, and more recently from Ukraine.  Roy Morgan (Teams) gave a PowerPoint presentation outlining a comprehensive range of activities and support services being provided to refugees hosted in the borough, as well as sponsors for Ukrainian refugees, working with local voluntary sector organisations.  The council continued to work with the Home Office to co-ordinate the resettlement of Afghan refugees.  The council was also lobbying actively against the government’s inhumane proposals to send asylum seekers to Rwanda and advocating for open, safe routes for asylum seekers.  A final aim as a compassionate council was to work to prevent people trafficking and exploitation and to be designated as a borough of sanctuary for refugees and asylum seekers.


Support services were currently being provided for 780 refugees in the borough, with donations and wrap around support services co-ordinated through local faith groups (mosques, churches) community and voluntary health and social care providers.  This also included support in obtaining housing and providing advice on tenancy agreements. The council had also worked with the Department for Work and Pensions to help navigate benefit pathways, obtain national insurance numbers and personal independent payments.  Officers had worked closely with the North West London Health colleagues to ensure that families had been registered with local health providers.  Due diligence had been undertaken around children’s safeguarding, with free school meals and uniforms also provided.  Detailed figures were given on the number of individuals and family units being supported by nationality and the ways in which they had been supported.   A slide deck of the presentation would be circulated following the meeting.


Councillor Omid Miri sought clarification about the direction of travel and an update about the city of sanctuary application process. The borough offered safety, assurance, and support for refugees, learning from examples of best practice from other boroughs, for example Lewisham.  Roy Morgan explained that the designation highlighted the wrap-around provision offered, ensuring that all refugees were treated with equity and were able to have parity of access to services.  Parity of provision was important as there had been notable differences in the response to Afghan refugees, compared to Ukrainian.  The council was working with voluntary providers to ameliorate this.


Councillor Andrew Dinsmore sought assurance that refugee children were not being placed in private fee-paying schools.  Councillor Rebecca Harvey confirmed that the council was not placing children in private schools however, some had offered places to sponsor families.  All other children had been placed in state schools.  Councillor Dinsmore reported that he had also received an email from a resident who described their poor experience of a “welcome” session hosted at the Quaker centre, with no school places and vouchers that had not initially worked and the absence of other welcoming provisions. Councillor Dinsmore sought an assurance that the council would primarily focus on school provision and the provision of vouchers.  Councillor Rebecca Harvey assured the committee that all children had been placed in local  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Local Enforcement Team pdf icon PDF 361 KB

This report provides PAC Members with the opportunity to scrutinise the work and performance of the Councils new Law Enforcement Team (LET) reviewing its work and progress since its establishment in April 2021. 

Additional documents:


Neil Thurlow briefly described the role of the Local Enforcement Team (LET) established in December 2020, formed part of the Community Safety Unit and was one of the largest teams in London.  Reflected in a budget of £4.5 million this represented a significant investment placing highly visible customer service and the accessibility of staff at the heart of the local community.  Covering 21 wards, including the newly created additional wards, this was a 24/7 service working closely with the police, supported by the corporate communications unit.  LET officers came from a range of diverse backgrounds and experience (including the police) and the LET Team Manager, Mohammed Basith had significant experience in leading such teams.   There had been significant and exponential growth since the team had been established, maintaining and sustaining services with strong management.


Councillor Andrew Dinsmore enquired how many weapons had been recovered through active searches.  Neil Thurlow confirmed that there had been 1237 searches, recovering 17 weapons (a range of knives), drugs (12 cannabis bags in a recent search) all of which had been safely removed, processed, and disposed.  The methodology of a structured weapons sweep was described including how a site was identified and where searches were regularly undertaken.  Mohammed Basith explained that LET ward officers routinely visited ten housing blocks each day and undertook patrols in two parks (minimum) as it was recognised that criminals commonly secreted weapons in communal areas and shrubbery. 


Councillor Dinsmore noted the number of weapon sweeps and the number of items recovered calculating a low outcome rate.  He enquired how this could be improved.  Neil Thurlow responded that residents were aware that they could not secrete weapons in communal areas and that the LET was in regular communication with DI Debbie Field.  The LET and Metropolitan police officers worked closely together and in tandem, maximising opportunities for sharing intelligence.  Matthew Hooper added that 2019 had seen a significant number of youth attacks and violent incidents.  Of the weapons sweeps undertaken so far, 17 weapons had been removed which, had they been used for criminal purposes, could have resulted in tragic loss and significant impact on the community.  The social impact and removal of such weapons was balanced against the cost to the public purse.


Councillor Trey Campbell-Simon asked what the LET was doing to reach out to groups that had been more challenging to engage with.  Mohammed Basith outlined the relationship with local tenants and residents’ associations (TRAs).  The LET, as a public facing council service, connected with residents through TRAs to reach entrenched communities, breaking down barriers and offering help to signpost or access support services. Sergeant Seb Golding explained that Metropolitan police officers were increasing the number of community engagement events (pop ups and ward panel meetings) that they attended to assist with crime prevention, offering higher police visibility and presence.  Neil Thurlow added that residents can contact Mohammed Basith and his team through ward surgeries.


Councillor Sally Taylor provided some feedback with a proposal that the Mund Street  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 228 KB

The committee to discuss potential work programme items within the remit of the committee’s terms of reference (SICS is at page 34) and are included for information and noting.


The committee noted that LET updates would be a standing item for future meetings, supported by input from the police.


The following topics and themes were explored for inclusion in future meetings and a long list of work programme items:


-        Cost of living, in the context of community safety.  There was a clear link to increased crime during economic uncertainty.  It would be helpful to include the perspective of different community groups and communities.

-        VAWG, to coincide with the 16 days of activism campaigning against domestic and sexual violence.  This year, the campaign coincided with the Men’s football World Cup, an event that unfortunately also saw a corresponding and significant increase in domestic violence (November).

-        Gang violence and the exploitation unit. The Gangs Unit had been established for two years and would be a complementary item to the VAWG piece (November).


Date of future meetings

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Tuesday, 21 March 2023



Tuesday, 22 November 2022.