A senior Met Police officer has assured Havering parents of the police's commitment to tackle crimes against young people.

A letter dated February 16 was written by Supt Simon Hutchison to parents.

It was shared by Councillor Jane Keane of St Albans ward and said the Supt had received several “very concerning letters and emails” regarding robberies in the borough from residents and councillors. 

The number of such offences, he said, equates to about 1.4 per day according to the Met’s data, with each of these involving a young person as one of the victims who is left “scared and afraid”.

He claimed the borough has “very committed and dedicated officers” policing not only town centres but all the other wards.

He highlighted that last year Havering’s town centre team arrested 555 people and recovered numerous weapons through stop and search.

Whilst most of the reported robberies he said are in Romford town centre, he acknowledged that offences do take place elsewhere. He mentioned a spate of robberies that occurred in Rainham recently and ignited public outrage.

He said: “I ensured the response to this was multi-faceted, school’s officers were in direct contact with the local school, an increased uniform presence was implemented, and covert asset deployed to locate potential suspects.

“With the resources available to me, I work alongside intelligence officers and communities to try and pre-empt offending and task teams according to the demands."

He further outlined some of the steps taken by the police with regards to preventing crimes.

This, he said, included using “intelligence led stop and search” to identify offenders, working with Havering Council enforcement officers to increase visibility, embedding a police officer in the local authority CCTV control room to identify suspects, and carrying out joint operations with British Transport Police at train stations among other things.

The police also work closely with Havering schools and attend quarterly head teacher meetings to ensure schools have access to a dedicated schools officer, Supt Hutchison said.

Speaking of people’s hesitation to report crimes, he encouraged more victims of robberies to come forward. He highlighted there are skilled detectives that can manage their concerns and apply for victims’ details to be removed from court proceedings.

He said police are committed to arresting culprits and putting them before the court.

“We are sometimes stretched due to demand, but this does not mean we do not care. We endeavour to get to you as soon as we possibly can," he added.

Recent incidents include a 16-year-old boy having his phone was stolen after being threatened in High Street, Hornchurch on February 16.

In another instance, on January 28, a male was robbed at knifepoint by a gang of four in Victoria Road, Romford.