May 23 2013 Latest news:
Exclusive by Jane Ball, News editor
Saturday, March 2, 2013
by Jane Ball
Around 50 extra police officers are to patrol our streets, Havering’s new borough commander has promised.
The increase will significantly bolster the borough’s 238-strong team.
Resources are to be diverted from back offices to the frontline, Chief Supt Jason Gwillim said, and it comes in spite of the Met’s £600m savings plan.
The boost will be felt sometime in the “foreseeable future”, Mr Gwillim added, after taking the reins from acting borough boss, Det Supt Tony Bennett.
Havering is the second largest borough in London but, as one of the safest in the capital, it also relies on fewer resources than most other boroughs.
Mr Gwillim said extra beat bobbies are what both the force and the public demand. “Everyone would like more officers – it’s what people want and it’s what’s needed to drive down crime,” he explained.
“What we’re getting from offenders is that if they see an officer on patrol they’ll go somewhere else. We can’t have an officer on every street but we can be smart in how we use resources.”
Like his predecessors, tackling burglaries remains the top policing priority in the borough, with so-called traceable water the latest weapon in fighting crime.
“It’s not new, but we’re keen to start a campaign, ensuring that it’s made available in the key areas in the borough,” Mr Gwillim said, “and I will make sure we have got the funding for it.”
The liquid, also known as SmartWater, is daubed on property and is invisible until shone under ultraviolet light. It helps police trace the owner and proves the property has been stolen.
Mr Gwillim said: “Importantly, it also deters burglars. If they know it’s being used widely in an area, it’s likely to put them off.”
The former Kensington and Chelsea borough commander, who has a background in police resourcing, has also pledged to drive down violent crime, assaults with injury and motor vehicle crime, in what he calls a “blitz” on the bad guys.
Working with the community and building on the successful working partnership with Havering Council is key to tackling the issues.
He said: “We need the help of the community in fighting crime but we know what we have to do, the key factors for us are being professional, decisive and quick.”
See p26 for more from Mr Gwillim on this week’s Operation Big Wing.