Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Police open day raises £1,600 for charity

Officers in Hammersmith & Fulham opened their doors to the local community on Sunday 5th June with a Family Open Day at Fulham Police Station. I went along with the brood, despite Transport for London's best efforts to stop us, and can confirm it was a great day. Having been preceded by two days of scorching sunshine Murphy's Law came into full effect and it belted down with rain for some of the day, which made the determination of the officers and volunteers to give everyone a fun day out all the more impressive.

I'm told more than 700 people were welcomed by various police stalls and displays, demonstrating the different departments within the police service including a fly over show from the Police Helicopter, Police Horses, Police Dogs, Firearms Unit with jenkle and guns; and the Marine Police Unit with a boat. Crime Prevention Officers and local Safer Neighbourhoods Teams were available to offer advice. 

So quite a range, although why the guns were on show was a bit lost on me. I actually saw an officer explaining the 'kick' a machine gun gives when it fires to a 10 year old boy and as you can see from the gun toting granny this stall was the subject of much attention. I deal with the effects of guns in my day job and I felt more than a bit uncomfortable at the sight of this. 

Some officers dressed in historic uniforms and a historic vehicle collection was on display. A public order demonstration took place and members of the public were given a custody tour with prisoners and fingerprint stickers were offered. Never, ever, get taken to the cells at Fulham Police station - they are grimmer than grim!

Hammersmith's Volunteer Police Cadets and Special Constabulary helped run the event throughout the day, meeting guests, talking to people and help run stands. This involved putting up with hours of kids like mine making full use of the sirens, which I can confirm were in full working order. 

£1,600 was raised for charity on the day which, from the sign outside a cell door in which a fundraising "prisoner" was sat, was for the same charity I ran a half marathon for not so long ago, BLESMA - the British Limbless Ex Servicemans Association - they are an amazing charity doing vital work, and that money will change lives.  

The open day gave the local community an insight and greater understanding into the work of the police, which will hopefully assist in breaking down barriers between the police and local community and encourage the local community to become more involved in initiatives to reduce crime in their area. 

Borough Commander for Hammersmith & Fulham Police, Chief Superintendent Lucy D'Orsi said: 
"Policing is very much part of the community in Hammersmith and Fulham. The open day at Fulham Police Station was an opportunity for us to open our doors and let the community meet officers and see the type of specialist support services that we use to reduce crime and make the Borough safe. It was also an opportunity for people to receive crime prevention advice which will help them to keep safe and help us to reduce crime even further. It was a lovely fun family occasion.”
Sergeant Christopher Penman, who organised the event said:
"Our guests created a great community atmosphere and were generous to the charities. They were also a deadly shot at the stocks. I'm still dislodging bits of wet sponge. There are so many people to express my gratitude to, so thank you to each guest, the companies who contributed and the whole police team".

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