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Top cop declares burglaries ‘under control’ in Havering

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 April 2018

Det Sup Neil Matthews. Picture: JON KING

Det Sup Neil Matthews. Picture: JON KING

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A top cop has vowed not to take his foot off the gas in a battle against burglaries after declaring a recent crime wave “under control”.

Romford Police Station. Picture: JON KINGRomford Police Station. Picture: JON KING

Det Supt Neil Matthews said: “The number of burglaries used to be horrendous. But there’s been a huge decrease much to the relief of people in Havering.

“But I wouldn’t want to take my foot off the gas. If we’re not careful we could be back there in 12 months’ time,” he said.

Det Supt Matthews was speaking five months after launching a burglary busting squad manned by 16 bobbies and plainclothes detectives last December. It involved the public becoming the team’s “eyes and ears” advising them who to target and where to find them.

Since then more than 100 arrests have been made with police making 62 charges covering 166 offences across Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge including aggravated burglary, robbery and possession of offensive weapons. The “vast majority” of culprits were youngsters aged 15 to 18.

Det Supt Matthews pointed to a fall in burglary numbers across the borough, which saw 210 in January drop to 19 recorded for April’s stats. The conviction of four “prolific offenders” – now in jail or young offenders’ institutions – had the biggest impact on bringing numbers down, according to Det Supt Matthews.

Besides burglaries, the squad has tackled the theft of high-powered cars such as BMWs and Audis with some cases seeing suspects ramming police cars to get away.

“They’d drive like absolute idiots through the streets putting the public at risk,” Det Supt Matthews said.

On the project’s success, the cop with 27 years in the job, said: “People are feeling a bit braver now.

“We have more members of the community coming forward. But we advise people not to engage with offenders because of the risk of violence.

“To everybody involved it’s a big thank you, but there’s still work going on and we still need people to come forward with information,” he said.

To those thinking of committing such crimes he warned: “You will be caught, arrested and put before the courts.”

But he added: “Our work will continue.”

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