Issues with cyclists and e-scooters providing a challenge across the borough
Sergeant Sunnee Arhagba (right) on duty with a colleague
As we move into a summer with an end of restrictions, members of the council's dedicated Parks Police team, Acting Inspector Laurie Black and Operations Sergeant Sunnee Arhagba, have spoken about how they aim to keep Wandsworth’s parks a peaceful haven for residents.
Sunnee Arhagba said, “We really want the community to be able to enjoy the parks, that’s why it’s important to tackle ASB where we see it. We work 7 days a week to keep the parks safe. This involves daily patrols of the parks, responding to calls or in person queries from the public. We’re a friendly and approachable team, and want people to feel they can approach us if they want to report anything or simply ask for advice. We also work closely with the Met police and the council’s community safety team to reduce ASB.
“One of the main issues we’re tackling at the moment is cyclists taking over the footpaths. We have a lot of complaints from the public regarding this issue and have issued several on the spot cautions and fines.”
Laurie Black said, “We’ve also been seeing a rise in the use of electric scooters. It is against the law to ride e-scooters in our parks. It is important that the public feel safe in the parks and e-scooters can have negative impact on people’s experience of the parks, especially those with young families, the elderly, people with mobility challenges or with a visual or hearing impairment.
“Parks Police tackle ASB in all its forms. Noise pollution is another issue we tackle, loud parties and the use sound systems disturbs the peace and can cause distress to those in the surrounding area.”
Sunnee Arhagba added, “We also attend monthly ‘MAC’ meetings, set up by the council whereby members of the public can attend and voice any concerns they might have in the form of a Q&A session, alongside Park Managers, Met police and Enable, who manage Wandsworth’s parks and open spaces on behalf of the council.
"We are grateful that the vast majority of park users who treat the parks with respect. People recognise us when we are out patrolling the parks, stop to say hello and thank us for the work we do. It’s very rewarding. We enjoy that interaction with the community as we are there to try to make sure they enjoy the parks.”
Wandsworth Council's community safety spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “We have the highest number of council-owned parks and open spaces in inner London and have an ongoing commitment to keep them safe, which is why we have one of London’s few dedicated Parks Police teams.
“They do a fantastic job of keeping the parks safe for our residents and I’d encourage members of the community to report any issues when they see them to the Parks Police - they are here to help.”
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July 23, 2021