Police launch Wildlife and Crime Watch along Regent’s Canal

General view of Regent's canal, London.

General view of Regent's canal, London. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Canal boat users, residents and local businesses met with police last week to discuss ways to combat crime and anti-social behaviour along the Regent’s Canal as Islington Wildlife and Crime Watch was launched.

Wildlife officer Pc Tracey Parker said police decided to set up the watch after local residents reported problems along the canal.

Wildlife crimes along the canal include sling shots being used to shoot birds, people unwittingly destroying swan nests in an attempt to “tidy up” the canal path and boat users separating ducklings from their flocks when they operate the locks.

According to Pc Parker, many crimes could be avoided through education and by encouraging the residents in the boats and flats and workers in the area to communicate more.

“What struck me is that there is a community here that already cares and all that’s missing is a little bit of communication.”

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As well as wildlife crime, residents have also voiced concerns about anti-social behaviour such as drug taking and dealing, drinking and loitering along the canal path, littering and the lack of lighting at night.

Chief Insp John Frost said: “The canal towpaths are a busy thoroughfare at times. At night there are a lot of people here and because it’s a bit out of the way people do acts they feel they have more scope to do.

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“We police it, but with all the other pressing demands we have to look at what other resources we can use and get residents to share their experiences of anti-social behaviour with us.”

Denise Walker, 49, lives on a boat and runs a canal cruise company. She said: “I would like to see lighting and CCTV installed along the canal. People who live on boats should have the same rights to safety as people in flats.”

Another problem, she says, is that if someone is attacked or burgled they are unable to provide police with an exact location.

“When I had a break-in it took police half an hour to get police down to me because I couldn’t give them a postcode.”

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