'A positive thing': Police boss optimistic on Met's new handcuffing policy
- Credit: Chantelle Billson
Cressida Dick’s determination to increase the public's trust in the police has seen a controversial handcuffing policy introduced.
But Paul Trevers, the interim boss of the Met Police in Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham, spoke to this newspaper with optimism about the new policy.
Introduced following a review commissioned by Met commissioner Dick in 2019, the policy is designed to ensure the use of handcuffs is always justified and recorded.
Det Ch Supt Paul Trevers said it will “encourage officers to risk assess” situations better.
He added: “It has become almost standardised that we will place handcuffs on people that aren’t under arrest because of the risk assessment that officers fear that they might be assaulted or the offender/person could run off.”
The policy’s introduction follows a consultation with police officers to consider their experiences of policing in London and with young black men aged between 16 to 25 to understand their experiences and perception of handcuffs being used disproportionately against them.
Det Ch Supt Trevers added the policy, by making officers think more in terms of the risk, will mean if they do “perceive a risk, they will put handcuffs on far more effectively, but more proportionately”.
He added: “If less people are being placed in handcuffs outside of being arrested, that can only be a positive thing for the community.”
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Commissioner Dick said she is “determined” to increase the trust and confidence of communities in their police service as she admitted to knowing “not all communities have the same level of trust” in the force.
This comes following high profile cases which saw the Met criticised, such as the murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer.
On the topic of handcuffing and the potential risk posed to officers, Det Ch Supt Trevers told this newspaper that within the borough of Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham around five police officers are assaulted weekly.
Speaking to the Recorder about wider work being carried out within the Met, Det Ch Supt Trevers said Operation Sceptre, which aims to tackle knife crime, has so far resulted in 34 stop and searches and 11 arrests, three of which resulted directly from the stop and searches.
He added: “Op Sceptre is ordinarily an enforcement-led operation about arresting people, but there has been some fantastic work done across all three boroughs by the neighbourhood teams, who have gone into school’s with a clear emphasis on education and carrying knives, and the danger it presents.
“Sadly, historically, it’s quite often the people who carry knives who become the victims of knife crime.”
As part of an international annual campaign – 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence – Det Ch Supt Trevers confirmed the east area command unit is actually holding 19 days of events from November 22 to December 10.
Det Ch Supt Trevers said the campaign is “in line” with the Met’s priority to tackle violence against women and girls.
He said: “There will be a huge amount of activity against tackling violence against women and girls from presentations in the streets to engagement with schools and colleges and a heightened level of activity to arrest perpetrators of domestic abuse and sexual violence.”
In a bid to support victims of abuse, Det Ch Supt Trevers said the Met are investing in officers who will offer victim support.
“Not every arrest will result in a charge so we’re trying to put the victims at the forefront of this and that’s the primary objective”, added Det Ch Supt Trevers.
Enhanced night activity is also being carried out across the autumn night period in a bid to keep the community safe, he said.
Alongside this, Det Ch Supt Trevers confirmed the Met are cracking down on cannabis factories, which he said are often linked to “real high-level violence and organised crime”.