Officers from Wandsworth Common Safer Neighbourhood Team, in partnership with HMP Wandsworth, have organised an event called ‘Giveback’, whereby refurbished pedal cycles were, for a small donation, given to victims of crime. The aim was to give something back to the community from serving offenders and at the same time raise money for two local charities.
Having liaised with prison staff, officers from Wandsworth Common SNT were aware that the prison operated a very professional bicycle workshop where offenders gained valuable skills in bicycle mechanics.
Over the last few months Wandsworth police had seized a large number of bikes and, after attempts to trace their respective owners proved fruitless, the team saw an opportunity and contacted the prison.
It was arranged for the prison to take the bikes and repair them under the supervision of trained mechanics.
Victims of bicycle theft from the locality were invited and arrived at Wandsworth Prison to find on display an array of bicycles of various shapes and sizes, restored to a very good standard.
A property marking stall was set up and each bike obtained by local residents was security marked by the team.
A crime prevention stall was also staffed by the local police volunteer cadets.
Local councillor Kathy Tracey attended to support the event, as did Rosie Pike, one of the pastors for Westside Church on Melody Road. The Church runs and supports a youth football team, making it an obvious choice for one of the good causes to raise money for. The second good cause chosen was the Rainbow School for autistic children, based in Garratt Lane. A representative of the charity was also present at the event.
Within an hour all of bikes were snapped up, raising £620 for both Westside Church youth football team and the Rainbow school for autistic children.
Police Sergeant Jerry Ostrowski said, "This was very much a unique event. The idea that serving inmates had repaired cycles that were then pretty much given away to the very victims of crime they had aggrieved was an idea appreciated and fully supported by our community. Partnership working is crucial to Safer Neighbourhoods and the relationship we have built with Wandsworth prison enabled £620 to be raised within an hour."
David Taylor, Governor of HMP Wandsworth said, "This has been a successful partnership between ourselves and Wandsworth Police which has enabled both organisations to support the victims of crime and the wider general public."
October 5, 2011