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Payback time at the park

Officers from Waltham Forest Council, police officers for the borough’s Gangs Task Force, Serco community payback supervisors and offenders joined forces recently to help clean-up Langthorne Park in Leytonstone.

The Community Payback Scheme sees offenders working to improve the borough and the event was a chance for officers to work alongside offenders to provide them with an opportunity to see each other in a different light and break down barriers.

The clean-up saw gang related tagging removed from benches through sanding and varnishing, the removal of other graffiti, pruning of areas where weapons, drugs and the like could have been hidden, deep cleansing that included sweeping and litter picking of hard to reach areas, and the decking area restored.

One offender said, “That council bloke I worked with gave me some great tips on how to preserve my wooden garden furniture and the police officer that I worked with made me stop and think about how I always judged all police the same (and not in a nice way). I was wrong.”  

Acting Police Sergeant Mike Halpin, said, “I didn't realise how much hard work gets done by offenders while on Community Payback! This is so different to my normal working day and I'm really glad I came to help out. It looks fantastic.”

A local resident who witnessed the transformation said, “Thank you for arranging to do this. I don't have a garden of my own as I live in a small apartment so I use this lovely park to come and sit in. It all looks wonderful and I am so grateful to everyone for making it look even more beautiful.”

The Council’s Environment Graffiti, Operative, Paul Ellens, added, “Today has been excellent – so much has been done and it was brilliant working alongside the guys on Community Payback and the police.” 

If you would like to nominate an area near you that might benefit from work being carried out by the Community Payback scheme email

PHOTO: The Community Payback Scheme comes to Langthorne Park in Leytonstone.

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