Police sergeant transfer eases fears for Goodmayes residents

The appointment of a new police sergeant in Goodmayes has left relieved residents “delighted” after concerns the ward had been left vulnerable.

The departure of former Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) Sgt Lee Wilkinson to Loxford earlier this month caused upset among residents who felt their police presence had been depleted.

The move came as part of a staffing review which saw Sgt Seamus Hansford transferred from the Ilford Town Centre team.

The appointment of an experienced officer has brought “peace of mind” to the ward, according to chairman of the Goodmayes Residents Association (GRASS) Keith Stanbury.

He said: “To have such an experienced officer is great for us, we’re delighted.

“What concerned me most of all was the speed with which Sgt Lee Wilkinson had been appointed and then transferred.

“He went without any warning and it seemed like a knee-jerk reaction from the police, but I know that’s not the case now.”

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Sgt Hansford has been based in Ilford Town Centre for about three years. He said he does not anticipate Goodmayes ward will be any calmer when he takes over on May 28, though he concedes it will be “different”.

He said: “I’m going from a town centre team to an SNT, so the roles and responsibilities are slightly different. In a town centre you come in almost every day to a blank canvas, but in an SNT it’s more community based and it’s more problem solving.”

As part of the review, Redbridge has a new face in charge of the south sector SNT, Insp Bob Lands, who will be based at Chadwell Heath station.

Borough Commander Sue Williams said police staffing was reviewed regularly, and officers were moved accordingly when there was an “operational need based on the demands and priorities for the borough”