Romford town centre is safe to visit, Met Police officers have said, with the force making around 50 arrests there every month.

The Recorder sat down with Sergeants James Gaskin and Abed Alaziz from Romford Police Station to share safety concerns perceived by our readers.

Sgt Gaskin revealed that they have a dedicated team of 14 police constables and two sergeants who are “extremely motivated, hardworking and focused on curtailing crimes in the town centre”.

Met Police analysts, Sgt Alaziz said, share regular intelligence with their team in Romford to help them carry out stop and searches effectively.

Sgt Gaskin added: “We work very closely with Havering Council, local bobbies, CCTV operators and businesses in shopping centres to reduce thefts, anti-social behaviour, and other crimes.

"We meet them once a week when we discuss issues involving people coming into their areas."

READ MORE: Teens 'threatened and robbed' in Romford shopping centre

They said they deal with a variety of crimes between their day and night shifts - from shoplifting and pickpocketing to crimes against women and girls and grievous bodily harm.

Regular mobile and plain clothes patrols are said to be carried out throughout these shifts.

The outcome of their efforts, the sergeants said, is demonstrated on a wall full of pictures of hundreds of knives they have taken off people.

Sgt Gaskin said: “In Romford, we find a lot of weapons on people so that’s a positive. That effectively reduces the risk of stabbing.

“Between a team of 14 officers we carry out 50-60 arrests every month on an average which is unheard of. Levels of serious violence has fallen majorly in the town centre as a result of these efforts, so stabbings and knife crimes are more sporadic now.”

The crimes that are more prevalent in the area, they said, are thefts from stores and shoplifting but they believed this was also a result of police encouraging shop owners and managers to report such crimes.

“These were earlier very underreported, so seeing the numbers go up is not necessarily a bad thing as it shows more shops are reporting them now”, Sgt Alaziz said.

To deter repeat offenders, Sgt Gaskin said they issue a community protection warning to that sets conditions on where they can and cannot be in the town centre.

When they breach these conditions, the individuals could be given a community protection notice which means they can be arrested for simply being in certain shops and places.

Sgt Gaskin said: “The other day we had a guy who shouldn’t be in M&S for example. He was in there, so we just arrested him for breaching these conditions that prevents further thefts."

Amongst reported town centre crime in recent weeks were an alleged spate of attempted robberies, which four boys have been arrested in connection with.

On the issue of young people being involved in crime, the officers said they are detecting more crimes but felt there is not an unusual change and said the opening of the Elizabeth line has meant people come in to the area from further afield.

This year, the officers said one of their key focus areas is tackling violence against women and girls in Romford given its night-time economy.

They offered their assurances that Romford town centre is a safe place to visit.

“Don’t be afraid to come to Romford town centre. We are regularly out and about. If you do come across anything, please contact the police”, Sgt Alaziz said.