Monday 3 September 2007

A Public Thank You to Hammersmith Broadway’s Sergeant Paul Goulden As He Moves On To New Role

Sergeant Paul Goulden is moving on to pastures new, having served the people of Hammersmith Broadway ward since 2004. He has been moved to a new role within Hammersmith and Fulham’s Metropolitan Police but is sadly leaving the Safer Neighbourhood Operation. He will be replaced by Sgt. Gareth Winnard who starts work in the ward on 10th September. I, for one, would like to take this opportunity to thank Sgt. Goulden for the outstanding work he’s done protecting the people of Hammersmith Broadway ward.

Sgt. Goulden set up, recruited and led the Hammersmith Broadway Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) which was one of the first in London. Initially a team of six, its brief was to cut crime and reduce the fear of crime. By April 2006, Sgt. Goulden had contributed to a 33% drop in robberies, the biggest number of closed crack houses in England and Wales and a 10% cut in overall crime – which was the biggest crime fall in London.

I was lucky enough to get to know him well. I worked closely with him when he hit problems with slow moving officials in housing associations and the Council, or at a variety of public events. I met him and his team regularly where we shared information and discussed priorities. It struck me that his job was a curious mix of being the reassuring face of the local police and hard-hitting crime fighting.

I bumped into him about eighteen months ago in Lyric Square. He was unusually dressed in “civvies” and quickly explained that he was on an undercover operation trying to get sufficient evidence to arrest the people running a crack house in the north of our ward. He told me that they needed to catch the dealers with the drugs on them and that these particular criminals were storing the drugs in a place on their persons where the law had no jurisdiction. It struck me then that Paul’s job was, at times, much more unpleasant than I had really considered. He closed down that crack house. Two days later we were at a public meeting and Sgt. Goulden was listening sympathetically to a resident as she listed her criticisms of the local police.

Sgt. Goulden often told me that he didn’t expect public thanks for what he did explaining that it was not only “his job” but that the public had “a right to have their fears and concerns addressed”. He led from the front with that attitude and was affectionately known by his team as “The Skipper”.

Hammersmith Broadway has the biggest town centre and the highest rates of crime in the borough. Controversially, the Town Hall cut funding to Sgt. Goulden’s team earlier this year after the Conservative Administration decided to move resources to sure up their new policing experiment in Shepherds Bush and Fulham Broadway.

I know that Sgt. Goulden will be missed by all of the people he worked with including; the Hammersmith Business Improvement District (BID), the Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel and the local Neighbourhood Watch.

I wish him well.

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