London streets should see an increase in the number of police in coming weeks.
The Metropolitan Police announced in the autumn they would increase the number of ‘bobbies on the beat’ after data revealed a spike in unsolved minor crimes. The Met announced an extra 650 officers would be put back on the beat and that the new teams of officers would be in place ‘by spring 2022.’
The decision to bolster police presence comes after evidence revealed the proportion of minor crimes being solved has plummeted, with as few as one in 50 thefts of property such as bikes being solved. The proportion of thefts resulting in a charge has halved in the past five years, from 9.9 per cent in the year ending March 2016 to 5.6 per cent in the year to June 2021.
Public demand more police on the streets
A study also showed a lack of public confidence in street policing. The study by Office for National Statistics for the Police Foundation, carried out in 2020, showed nearly half of those asked said they never saw a police officer walking the street anymore. This is the highest figure on the lack of police presence since records began over 12 years ago. Only 16% public asked said they had seen a foot patrol at least once a week.
In response the Metropolitan Police announced 500 officers would form town centre teams across the capital and would be based permanently in busy neighbourhoods. A further 150 officers would join London’s dedicated ward officers.
‘The public regularly ask for more visible policing presence in their local areas. Placing them in these locations is a really important part of how the Met is responding to helping communities feel and be safe. The extra officers will patrol at the times that will have the most impact on crime as well as on public safety, such as in the evenings.’
Their role would be to ‘tackle anti-social behaviour, as well as to focus on street harassment and violence against women and girls’.
Hounslow among the boroughs to receive more staff
It is unclear whether there will be any extra police deployed in Chiswick, though LB Hounslow is on the list of boroughs getting extra staff.
The Police announced just before Christmas that as part of the ‘StreetSafe’ scheme, officers would be patrolling alleyways in Chiswick which have been flagged as areas where people feel unsafe, such as the alleyway which runs parallel to the Turnham Green Tube station.
StreetSafe is a pilot service for anyone to anonymously tell us about public places where you have felt or feel unsafe, because of environmental issues, eg street lighting, abandoned buildings or vandalism and/or because of some behaviours, eg being followed or verbally abused.
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Met Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave, said:
“Our growth enables us to increase our presence in busy neighbourhoods and town centres and be even more focused on protecting people and solving the long-term crime and anti-social behaviour issues we know people care about most – like violent crime, and violence and harassment committed against women and girls.
“Local policing is at the heart of everything we do and we know that we are so much more effective if we are in communities and neighbourhoods, working side-by-side with all Londoners, listening and engaging with them, tackling the issues that make them feel unsafe.
“We want communities to regularly see and get to know their local officers, so that they trust and have confidence in them, knowing they are there to protect and keep them safe.”
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