The Met commissioner met town centre teams and school officers in Ilford, east London, on January 5 along with London mayor Sadiq Khan where they spoke about the safety situation.
By: Shubham Ghosh
Officers across the Met are conducting proactive and high-visibility patrols to protect young people from robbery after sunset. It has been reported that school-going children are also being targeted by criminals as they return to their studies after the Christmas recess.
On Thursday (5) night, Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley met town centre teams and school officers in Ilford, east London, along with London mayor Sadiq Khan.
Recent figures have shown that a third (36 per cent) of the victims of robbery in the area are aged 18 or below. Youngsters are targeted, particularly after their school hours, for their new mobile phones, high-value clothing.
The patrolling is part of the Met’s Winter Nights operation to curb robbery and violence and focuses on the highest harm offenders. This is part of Sir Rowley’s vision for precise community crime-fighting and the drive for More Trust, Less Crime and High Standards for Londoners.
Also across the capital, foot and mobile patrolling is highly visible to tackle potential criminals in robbery hotspots and intelligence-led operations to target people who are repeat offenders.
Officers are also seen giving crime-prevention advice to members of the public and school officials, building trusted relationships to protect young people.
There have been 71 arrests for robbery since the end of November last year as a result of the targeted activity while 35 knives and other weapons have been seized.
The operation came as new figures confirm that the number of homicides in London in 2022 fell to its lowest since 2014, with teenage homicides falling by half.
Both Sir Rowley and Khan are clear that every death is a tragedy and one too many and the police and London’s Violence Reduction Unit are determined to build on this progress.
Sir Rowley said, “It is vital that members of the public feel safe on the streets of London. Every robbery has a significant impact on the victim.
“Our teams are doing fantastic work in Ilford, and across the capital to target opportunistic robbers who fuel violence.
“Each and every homicide is devastating – these are victims, not just statistics. They all have families, friends and loved ones that were left behind when their lives were tragically cut short.
“Although the number of homicides fell last year, we are not complacent. We will continue to use every measure available to keep Londoners safe and bring offenders to justice.”
Khan said, “Tackling violence and making London safer for everyone is my top priority and I’m more determined than ever in 2023 to build on the progress made in reducing knife and gun crime, burglary and teenage homicides, which have all fallen since 2016, bucking the national trend.
“But the level of violence remains too high and that’s why it is so important that the Met commissioner is taking action to ensure officers are in the right place at the right time to keep our communities safe and drive down robberies and other crimes, day and night.
“We know we cannot arrest our way out of violence and that’s why my Violence Reduction Unit is supporting young Londoners, intervening at critical stages in their lives and providing them with positive opportunities, support and mentors – particularly during this cost of living crisis, so they can succeed and thrive.”
The Leader of Redbridge Council and London Council’s Lead on Community Safety, Cllr Athwal said, “We have a very strong partnership with our colleagues in Redbridge Police, and our crime reduction strategy is already having a positive impact.
“As part of this partnership, our enforcement officers assist Met Officers as they carry out proactive and high-visibility patrols to help keep local people safe from robbery.
“This visit was a great opportunity to show the new Met Commissioner and the Mayor of London around Ilford and share the work we are doing to make the town centre safer for our neighbours.”