Update From Wandsworth Borough Commander

"I was pleased to see a 50 percent reduction in thefts from cars parked in the area"

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Ch Supt Richard Smith
Borough Commander

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Dear Residents

At the start of the Summer I wrote that we were launching Operation Omega; a coordinated effort to reduce violent crime, burglary, robbery, vehicle crime, criminal damage and theft.

Activities under Omega have continued across London throughout July and August and local officers have achieved a number of successful arrests and prosecutions during the past few weeks.

However, whilst we have seen a number of successful prosecutions it is always preferable to prevent crime occurring in the first place and I am pleased to report some excellent initiatives by your local teams across the borough:

In Thamesfield, Putney Safer Neighbourhood Team worked with colleagues from Wandsworth Borough Council under the title of Operation Unplugged to deliver crime prevention advice to around 6000 households, particularly in relation to thefts from parked vehicles. Visits to residents were supported by a poster campaign, and the arrest of one of our prolific thieves, and I was pleased to see a 50 percent reduction in thefts from cars parked in the area.

On the other side of the borough, Tooting Safer Neighbourhoods Team, supported by colleagues from the CID and Borough Tasking Team ran Operation Broadway in the town centre to target local crime and disorder including the begging, street drinking and other anti-social behaviour, which local residents have reported to us. Nearby, the dedicated ward officers for Graveney and Furzedown collaborated with the London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service to deliver crime prevention and safety advice to older residents in a project inspired by similar work delivered to children under the Wandsworth Borough Council Junior Citizen’s Scheme.

Remaining on the theme of prevention being better than a cure, September will see the local launch of the MetTrace project, with support from the local authority. MetTrace will provide traceable-liquid property marking kits to thousands of local residents in Wandsworth. Every person taken into custody and any property we seize will be checked for traces of the liquid, which is invisible to the naked eye and virtually impossible to remove. Criminals will have challenging questions to answer if they are found with marked property, or with the liquid on their clothes and there is clear evidence that traceable liquids act as a significant deterrent to would-be thieves.

The roll-out of MetTrace will be the precursor for our annual Autumn Nights crime reduction operation. Historically, we have seen an increase in property crime as the clocks go back and darker evenings draw in. Your local police will do all we can to keep crime rates low, but we will be even more successful if every Wandsworth resident could check that their property is secure and basic crime prevention steps are taken. This is particularly true in relation to the ongoing issue of moped theft; your local officers have arrested several of our prolific thieves but once again, if you own a moped, PLEASE fit an alarm, fit a tracker (many of these can be monitored with a smart phone), mark your property, invest in a good quality security chain or disk lock, park in a garage or enclosed area if you can or at least try to park in a well lit area and make use of ground anchors to secure your bike.

Earlier this month I was pleased to welcome the Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe on a visit to the borough. Sir Bernard and Wandsworth’s mayor, Councillor Nicola Nardelli, attended the Leonard Cheshire Disability Day Centre at Randall Close in Battersea to meet some of the service users and to hear about their assistance in training new officers arriving in Wandsworth. Staff at the centre, led by William Gallagher, have hosted all our new recruits at the centre, where they spend time learning about the challenges faced by people with disabilities and understanding how they can better support disabled people who are vulnerable or who fall victim to crime. This has been a very successful project; I am grateful to William for his huge energy and enthusiasm and to Sergeant David Wheatstone who did all the hard work and coordination on my behalf.

And finally, life is never dull for Wandsworth’s police. PC Faye Castleman and PC Ben Terry were called to King George’s Park earlier this month, where they bravely captured a five foot carpet python, which had mysteriously appeared in the park. The python was taken to Putney animal hospital and has been given the nickname “Monty”; another slippery customer safely detained!

Ch Supt Richard Smith
Borough Commander

August 27, 2015