People from Havering asked what police were doing about car thefts, violence against women and visibility at an event to rebuild trust in the Met.

Senior Metropolitan Police officers met members of the community in Hornchurch on Wednesday (September 6) as part of the launch of the force’s ‘New Met for London’ strategy.

The Met launched the plans to restore trust and confidence after the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer sparked revelations of widespread misogyny and racism.

"More trust, less crime and high standards" was the motto as officers heard of frustrations over common crimes.

Superintendent Simon Hutchison, Havering’s Neighbourhood Policing lead, told the meeting that Havering had a 77% confidence rate in police – higher than the London average.

But he admitted there are still areas where more work can be done, highlighting vehicle thefts as a key crime plaguing the region.

Resident Peter Rose said cars were stolen often in his area and claimed a neighbour had been forced to hire a private security agency due to burglaries.

Supt Hutchison said his team has at least two major investigations into people who organise vehicle thefts.

He added: “We are not just looking at individuals who steal cars, we are looking at high end at those people who are facilitating and organising it.”

Assistant Commissioner Louise Rolfe, who was also present, said new technology is helping solve cases.

She said: “If your car is stolen, your number plate will go on to a national network... which means that every speed camera, and cameras that are across London in different streets will automatically recognise the number and trigger an alert.

“We are looking at the big picture. Even if you think your case is closed, we are constantly studying trends and identifying patterns”.

Shop owner Natasha Necah told the meeting about a robbery that the police did not investigate.

Supt Hutchison accepted that perhaps in the past the police had “let local people down” but he assured that his team is trying to "provide a better service."

He said his team is maintaining “close contact and communication” with shops to encourage them to report thefts and added that a key deterrent is to have more visible policing in areas like the town centre.

Crimes against women and need for more visible policing were also raised.

Supt Hutchison added that police are carrying out initiatives to deter violence against women and girls, identifying hot spots and conducting patrols.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell, Commander for the Met’s East Area Basic Command Unit, said more Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) would be allocated to Havering between now and April.

He added: “They are an absolutely critical and visible part of our neighbourhood team.”

The Recorder also separately questioned the Supt Hutchison about knife crime. He said he a dedicated town centre team in Romford who works closely with the local authority, bars, clubs, restaurants, and other businesses.

He added: “They do briefings every weekend, so they are all connected and understand what the problems are. And we have made some gains as a result.

“In recent months, the team has arrested about 120 people and retrieved 63 knives.

“We want people who come into Havering to have a nice time and not be a victim of knife crime or be involved in any sort of criminality, violence.”

Concluding the event, Mr Bell said: “We want to continue to hear from the widest possible range of voices in Havering to work with us to agree local priorities and to understand what this new plan means.”

“For too long our communities have been telling us that many parts of the Met need reform and it is clear we have been too slow to respond.

“I believe together we can change to ensure the public we serve trust us to fight crime and keep people safe across Havering.”