Search

Operation Venice: Reporter shadows police to find out what is being done about moped crime in Havering

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:47 26 July 2017

Reporter Hayley Anderson joined the police for Operation Venice, targeting moped crime in Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. Picture: Hayley Anderson

Reporter Hayley Anderson joined the police for Operation Venice, targeting moped crime in Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. Picture: Hayley Anderson

Hayley Anderson

Moped gangs have been terrorising residents for months, causing people to be scared to walk down the street. Hayley Anderson was invited to shadow officers, and find out what action was being taken.

Reporter Hayley Anderson joined the police for Operation Venice, targeting moped crime in Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. Picture: Hayley Anderson Reporter Hayley Anderson joined the police for Operation Venice, targeting moped crime in Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. Picture: Hayley Anderson

Seeing the whites of a moped driver’s eyes, boxed in by the police car I was sitting in, was not a sight I was expecting that morning.

But that is run of the mill for the brave officers tasked with stopping moped crime for the East Area Command Unit, as part of the city wide initiative Operation Venice.

With lots of high profile crimes in Havering over the past few weeks, the Recorder had been invited to join the first proactive operation in Op Venice in the borough. The day started off at Romford Police Station, where officers were briefed by Insp John Goodwin.

He said: “While offences involving mopeds is relatively low within the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge, here in the East Area we are working very hard to keep the public safe and make the streets hostile territory for criminals who steal scooters, motorbikes and mopeds to commit crime.”

Reporter Hayley Anderson joined the police for Operation Venice, targeting moped crime in Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. Picture: Hayley Anderson Reporter Hayley Anderson joined the police for Operation Venice, targeting moped crime in Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. Picture: Hayley Anderson

Hotspot locations were drawn up, known individuals were noted and various tactics were discussed before I got to meet Sgt Neal Donohoe and acting Sgt Will Topp who I was going to be spending my day with.

We began driving in an unmarked Tactical Pursuit and Containment (TPAC) car which can reach 150mph during a chase.

It was not before long that we were called to Queen’s Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, after a man had been seen leaving a suspicious looking moped behind.

Sgt Donohoe said: “Sometimes it’s the demeanour, the clothing, the kind of bike they are on and we know because we are looking out for them all the time.”

Reporter Hayley Anderson joined the police for Operation Venice, targeting moped crime in Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. Picture: Hayley Anderson Reporter Hayley Anderson joined the police for Operation Venice, targeting moped crime in Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. Picture: Hayley Anderson

Next thing I know, the blue lights were switched on and the car was pushed to its limits as we chased a white car in the town centre before coming to a halt in South Street. Sgt Topp informed me that a plain clothes officer followed the moped driver around the hospital, before he got into the passenger seat of the car.

The vehicle was being driven without a licence, and the driver will appear in court.

Sgt Donohoe said: “I can’t prove it but I know it was the same one that failed to stop for me the other week, so it does give me some self satisfaction.”

There was little time to celebrate though, as we were called to another sighting of a moped driver believed to be involved in supplying drugs.

We drove along the outskirts of Romford and saw officers on motorbikes chasing him, so we skidded in front to box him in.

The driver then quickly turned his bike and managed to escape through a small gap – but the chase was not over.

Two police cars and motorbikes were all on his tail, with the marked car continuing to follow him as he drove up a hill.

The moped began speeding down, and Sgt Donohoe sprinted out of the car to tackle the driver.

The senior officer chased him along the busy road but couldn’t keep up, so Sgt Topp slammed the passenger door and continued with the pursuit. After a five minute chase through tight residential roads, the motorbikes went ahead without us as we went back to pick up Sgt Donohoe.

Jokingly he said: “Nearly got him - I’ll get him next time!”

The rest of the day was spent chasing mopeds but several were “terminated” by those operating the control room at Scotland Yard.

Following several high profile deaths during police pursuits, officers now do not chase drivers without helmets without authorisation. One driver, on a stolen moped in Romford, took his helmet off causing the chase to be ended, much to the frustration of the officers.

Sgt Donohoe said: “Until there are some changes in policy from the government to allow police to pursue these people, it’s very difficult for us.”

After a long day, “significant” intelligence had been gathered on those committing offences and six vehicles were seized, with the riders charged for a variety of driving offences and one wanted man arrested for other crimes.

Sgt Donohoe said: “We work very hard and are doing our best to catch these people.”

Latest Romford News Stories

A man has been taken to hospital after suffering from a stab wound to the arm.

19:00

Social care was the main issue on the agenda when Havering MPs met with the new minister for local government earlier this week.

A police officer in the parks department has been presented with a prestigious award after helping to save a man’s life.

A mental health charity is delighted that it has won funding that will benefit the community.

A man wanted in connection with a burglary in Brentwood has links to Romford, Barking and Dagenham.

Celebrations are underway as the rating of the trust providing mental heath care for Havering’s residents has been upgraded by inspectors.

A man’s body has been found outside a block of flats this morning.

09:52

Residents will soon be able to get urgent healthcare advice and prescriptions issued from GPs, paramedics and pharmacists over the phone.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Window and conservatory specialist Ken Rhodes talks about the possibilities for brightening up your home for the new year, and with their home improvement finance deals it’s possible for everyone to make some changes

Lisa and Jennie are cousins who grew up in the borough. Their grandmother, ‘Nanny Fish’ was a huge part of their lives, and while she had dementia and increasing needs, she really benefited from having care in her nephew’s loving home. This experience was the inspiration for Lisa and Jennie to set-up their own home care service.

Breaking News

10:04

A man’s body has been found outside a block of flats this morning.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now