‘Ripping communities apart’: Violent crime rising in Havering, figures reveal

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:40 24 July 2018

Test purchasers were sent to 120 shops in the borough last year to check whether they would sell knives to under 18s. Picture: KATIE COLLINS/PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES

Test purchasers were sent to 120 shops in the borough last year to check whether they would sell knives to under 18s. Picture: KATIE COLLINS/PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES

PA Archive/PA Images

Violent crime is rising in the borough, the latest figures have revealed.

In total there were 18,741 crimes reported in the borough, a six per cent rise between the last two financial years, according to figures released on Thursday by the Office for National Statistics.

The borough has one of the lowest totals in London with Westminster seeing the most with 57,496 crimes. The City of London saw the least (5,392).

However, there were four killings during that period with robberies doubling (687) and sex offences (468) rising compared to the year before, 331 and 375 respectively. The year to March 2017 saw two homicides in the borough.

There were 1,800 burglaries to March 2018.

Borough commander, Det Ch Supt Jason Gwillim said: “Our local crime figures are a reflection of the national picture, so nothing is happening locally which is not happening elsewhere, whilst that is little comfort, it is important to note.

“I am rightly concerned about the increases in reported crime published through the ONS which compares the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months.

“More recent information provides a more accurate picture of what is happening now in our area. It is important to show that as a result of the merger between the three boroughs of Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge we have been able to consolidate resources across the command and form a priority crime unit focusing on crimes like burglary and robbery, this in conjunction to the increase in dedicated ward officers to two per ward with additional demand ward officers posted to high demand areas has had a significant impact on crime over the last three months.”

He added that Havering has seen a reduction in crime comparing the first three months of last year to the first three this year. He pointed to a reduction of 28 per cent from 94 to 68 knife crime incidents, Robbery has fallen by 17pc from 180 to 149, Burglary has fallen with levels 31pc lower from 555 to 382 incidents,

And anti-social behaviour remains static compared to this time last year.

“So whilst there is nothing to be complacent about, this is very much an improving picture. We are working closely with our partners and the three local authorities to drive down crime. We are confident in our ability to continue this more positive trend,” he said.

Asst Com Martin Hewitt, responsible for frontline policing, said: “The Met continues to experience a very busy and challenging time against the backdrop of significant reductions in resources.

“I am very concerned about the rise in crime in the capital, particularly murder, violent crime and knife crime.

“My thoughts are with the victims’ families of these tragic and horrific crimes which have brought untold misery to countless people.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “These latest national statistics confirm that violent crime is ripping communities apart and devastating too many lives.

“And they confirm the terrible consequences of a government in denial about the terrible impact its cuts have had in tackling crime and its causes.

“The figures must surely serve as a wake-up call for the government to change its ways.”

Police minister Nick Hurd said: “Every violent crime is a significant concern and the government is taking decisive action to tackle it.

“We recognise crime is changing and that police demand is becoming increasingly complex.”

He welcomed a shift towards people reporting hidden crimes and that more victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence felt empowered to come forward.

Businesses were hit with 1,250 cases of shoplifting, up slightly on the previous year’s total of 1,234. There were some falls with 1,181 cases of stalking or harrassment the year to March 2018 compared to 1,259 for the 12 months before.

And thefts from people fell from 404 to 377 in the last financial year.

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