Meet Police Inspector Ashley
We met up with Police Inspector Thomas Ashley, leader of Islington’s safer neighbourhoods team, to find out about his role and how his team work with residents and the council to tackle crime in the borough.
What is your role?
I’m Islington’s Neighbourhood Inspector for the north of the borough, which includes Finsbury Park, Holloway and Highbury West. My job is to identify issues early on, respond to current issues and make sure we have the right resources in place to deal with these.
How many neighbourhood police officers are based in Islington?
We have roughly 83 Neighbourhood Officers in Islington.
What are their roles?
Neighbourhood Officers have a variety of roles that include safeguarding vulnerable people, dealing with anti-social behaviour and promoting community engagement. In doing so, we use various tactics to assist Police Officers in carrying out duties such as plain clothes patrols, weapon sweeps and high visibility work.
How do you and your team work with the community?
Engaging local people in the work we do is really important. We hold panel meetings every three months and street briefings with Police Community Support Officer’s (PCSOs) every two weeks. These allow the local community to look at crime stats and any problems that have arisen.
Although there is a great deal of incredibly positive police activity taking place across the borough, some of this unfortunately never reaches the local community. To help address this issue, we are working with Islington Council to produce a regular e-bulletin that will provide updates on the work we are doing to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. The first Finsbury Park Together bulletin will be out in January 2020.
How do you and your team work with Islington Council?
We work closely with the council in a broad range of areas, including community safety, housing, environment and homelessness. We conduct weekly joint patrols alongside the councils Parkguard service, and I chair the Islington Community MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference) where we tackle anti-social behaviour issues.
What are the main challenges locally?
One of the main challenges we face is getting people to report crime. Intelligence is central to a police officer’s job – when people report a crime in an area this helps us work towards tackling that crime.
For example, in response to crime reporting in Finsbury Park I have recently moved Highbury West officers to an office on Blackstock Road, which brings us closer to the areas specific issues. So, it’s important that if you see, know of, or suspect a crime is being committed you report it to the police.
What local successes are you most proud of?
There is a great deal of incredibly positive police activity taking place in the borough. For example, over the past 12 months, officers have closed down eight crack houses across the borough. This is a huge success for us as these were hubs for anti-social behaviour and associated crimes. We have also removed over 1,000 weapons from the streets and reduced moped enabled crime within the borough.
Can you describe a typical day?
Every day is different – the basic expectation for each day is that you’ll have a briefing in the morning. After that, it’s all about dealing with the demands for that day!
How long have you been in the police service, and what made you join?
I’ve been in the police service for over ten years. What initially attracted me to the police (and continues to motivate me today) is my passion for helping people and standing up for what is right.
On a lighter note, what do you most like about Islington?
I enjoy many things about the borough, but one thing that I particularly like about Islington is its diversity. The opportunity to interact with people from different cultures and communities provides a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as access to some great food from around the world!
Report a crime: 999 in an emergency / 101 for everything else.
Report a crime anonymously with Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111
Report anti-social behaviour: 020 7527 7272