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Lewisham police borough commander says webchats could be 'the way forward'
WEBCHATS with Lewisham police's new borough commander could become a regular thing after he was quizzed online last night.
Around 100 people joined in as Chief Superintendent Russell Nyman fielded questions on topics including police station closures, gun crime and the use of sirens.
Asked about fears that Sydenham police station may close to save costs, he replied: "Sydenham is currently under occupied, meaning that the building is larger than needed, and is costly to run and maintain.
"I can confirm no formal decision has made by the Mayor's Office of Policing and Crime to the closure of the station."
And challenged on a rise in gun and hate crime, he replied: "Gun crime as of today's date is up eight per cent. In real numbers that means there have been six more offences this time, compared to the same time last year.
"Racist and religious crime has increased by 56 offences, and homophobic crime has decreased by five offences for the same period.
"We are focusing our policing intelligence and resources at key times and venues, and I am confident the tactics we have put in place will deliver a decrease in gun crime by the end of the financial year."
To other questioners he denied cannabis had been 'quietly decriminalised', saying possession of unlawful drugs would still be tackled, and promised to look into specific instances people raised.
When challenged by Councillor Duwayne Brooks over his suitability for dealing with a diverse borough, he referred to his 27 years in the police, saying: "I have engaged in work within many different communities."
Mr Nyman said afterwards: "This was an interesting development in community engagement and one which I feel could be the way forward in terms of being able to reach a wider range of people."
He added: "I think it is important that we explore different communication methods in order to speak to the public we serve and I envisage holding more of these in the future."
Click here to see the full webchat.