Harrow Community Leaders gather for meeting of mutual support and information sharing

Community leaders

Community leaders came together

Community leaders from all faiths and all corners of Harrow borough gathered together on Wednesday at the Civic Centre for a meeting of mutual support and information sharing, in the light of the recent terror atrocities and raised levels of hate crime across London and the UK.

With a powerful message of unity, everyone present showed their determination to stand together against those who wish to divide us, as they discussed the community’s concerns and experiences over recent weeks.

They heard pledges of continuing support from the Council – including speeches from Mayor Margaret Davine, Leader Sachin Shah, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group Barry McLeod-Cullinane, Chief Executive Michael Lockwood and Navin Shah, Harrow’s London Assembly Member, also spoke passionately. 

Finally, Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens, the Metropolitan Police Borough Commander for Harrow, spoke to the meeting and hosted a question-and-answer session. 

“Four years of working together and coming together like this at times of crisis”, he told the meeting, “have helped us become one of London’s safest boroughs. While incidents of hate crime have risen across the city and the UK in recent weeks and months – we have bucked the trend in Harrow, with no increase at all. We stand together today, and we will stand for each other whenever any of us are threatened by intolerance, by vitriol, by hatred or by violence.”

Chief Supt Ovens went into great detail to explain the work he and his force are doing to keep Harrow people of all backgrounds safe; the extra work now being undertaken across Harrow and London to focus on preventing, deterring and responding to hate crime; and the new strategy being developed in the face of a changing threat to the city’s security.

Community leaders were unanimous in their thanks for the police and emergency services for their heroic and tireless actions in London’s recent series of crises.

The tragedy at Grenfell Tower was also discussed at length, along with Harrow Council’s leading role in supporting the recovery and remediation effort in Kensington. Community leaders discussed our borough’s readiness for a disaster, our contingency planning and emergency response mechanisms, and roles and responsibilities in the event of a crisis.