Dawn raids by police to target domestic abusers

�Havering Police arrested 16 people this week in a special operation to crack down on domestic violence.

The community safety team was out in force carrying out dawn raids daily to catch those on the police’s wanted list and those who have committed offences.

The action was part of the Met’s Operation Athena, held to mark White Ribbon Day last Sunday, which was International Elimination of Violence Against Women Day.

Det Insp Chris Krelle, heading the action in Havering, said: “Our priority is to safeguard victims and apprehend offenders.

“This is sending out the right message to victims that we will apprehend those who commit offences.”

In Havering there are 2,800 domestic incidents reported to the police every year and about 1,300 of these are classed as domestic violence crimes.

Police will make 1,000 arrests for domestic violence offences, and of these 600 are charged or cautioned.

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Mr Krelle said his team works with victims to complete risk assessments to see if they need panic alarms fitted in their homes, better security locks, a molestation order against the offender, and if they should be marked up as urgent if they make another 999 call.

He added: “We will strive for every case to make sure we get a judicial outcome, be it a charge or caution, and make them [abusers] accountable for their actions. But there are cases where the victim does not wish to go to court or to go any further.

“In extreme or severe cases we can take out a witness summons to safeguard the victim and take it to court if we think they are in danger.”

Met Police assistant commissioner, Simon Byrne, in charge of territorial policing, said: “The scale of the violence and abuse caused by those in domestic relationships is shocking.

“About one third of all women will suffer some form of physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their partners.

“Suffering behind closed doors should not and cannot be ignored. We all have a responsibility to put a stop to domestic violence.”

Operation Athena will continue until today (Friday).