PC Andrew Dobson is looking forward to the end of the pandemic so that he can begin to meet everybody again in normal circumstances.
“It’ll be great to go along to a neighbourhood meeting again and be able to speak to residents in person!”
Dobby, as he is known to many in Ladywell, has been a member of the local safer neighbourhood police team for six and a half years
He hails originally from Sheffield – his dulcet Yorkshire tones are a bit of a giveaway – first moving to London 10 years ago.
He joined the Met in 2014 and quickly established himself as a friendly, helpful face on the streets of SE13.
PC Dobson says the safer neighbourhood team suits him as a person. “You get to know people and you can take time to talk to them. The approach is a bit more considered”.
The police work is varied. There is a strong social work aspect to much of what he does. He works with the council, with health services and housing agencies in order to provide solutions locally.
“It’s a lot of multi-agency work. I sometimes am involved in mental health assessments … I am there to provide support where needed.”
He likes working in Ladywell as it “has a good community feel” and a high level of community engagement. “People care about the neighbourhood.”
He hopes Ladywell’s Safer Neighbourhood Panel which was suspended because of the Covid pandemic can now be revived.
It plays a valuable role in the ward by bringing police and community together to help prevent crime and solve neighbourhood problems.
PC Dobson admits there have been difficulties during the covid pandemic. “Covid has meant we have had to change the way we work. Like many people we have had to adapt.”
Working with Brockley and Telegraph Hill Safer Neighbourhood Teams is very important. “It means we can all work together across these neighbourhoods, learn from each other and support each other where needed.”
For local residents the prime concern remains anti-social behaviour. “People get worried when they see young people standing in the stairwells of their block of flats causing anti-social behaviour.”
“It’s a big problem … and most residents don’t like it. They feel intimidated and worried. We as police work with residents to get intelligence and then patrol these areas in order to prevent this sort of behaviour from happening.”
Crime remains relatively low in the area. “When crimes occur, we try to do a targeted approach, such as visit hotspot areas and patrol them and also do operations in order to target certain types of crime.”
PC Dobson feels very happy to be working in Ladywell. “Ladywell has some fantastic parks, open spaces and green areas. I feel very lucky to work here. When you walk through the parks in the area, it can feel like you aren’t even in central London”.