Police unit for 'high-harm' crimes tackles hike in domestic incidents

Predatory Offender Units

Trainee Det Con Kira Alzapiedi stressed the importance of the Predatory Offender Units in keeping women safe - Credit: Sally Patterson

An east London police team have arrested 178 people for “high-harm” offences, including domestic violence, since it was set up in November.

The East Area Predatory Offender Units (POUs) was launched on November 1 to tackle crimes posing a significant risk to adults and children, and it is one of 12 teams doing so across the Metropolitan Police.

More than £7.5 million was invested into the new units, with specialist officers deployed into the teams.

Office for National Statistics figures showed the Met received approximately 10 per cent more calls about domestic incidents in lockdown than the previous year, and demand for domestic abuse victim support has also risen.

The POUs' focus is on finding and arresting “high-harm” offenders wanted for crimes such as domestic and child abuse, sexual exploitation and human trafficking. 


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The Recorder joined the East Area force on their morning beat when they were targeting suspects for charges including grievous bodily harm (GBH) against their partners.

More than 30 arrests have been made as part of Operation Old Town, which specifically focuses on preventing violence against women and girls.

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The East Area force mainly covers Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering, but they often travel outside of the district to arrest people wanted for crimes which took place on its patch.

PC Alex Tachauer explained: “A lot of the arrests we make are for very violent assaults, very serious sexual assaults and matters involving children.

“For us, it’s a way of apprehending these suspects and making sure that we support our victims.

“That’s the most important thing; giving our victims the confidence to support the ongoing investigations knowing that the suspect has been apprehended and taken into custody.”

The team makes an average of three to four planned arrests every day, according to Det Sgt Matt Dennahy, on top of people who are arrested following calls to police. 

PC Tachauer added: “We are here to protect you, if you’re feeling unsafe please contact us at the earliest opportunity.

“We don’t ignore these matters, they are our priority.”
 

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