Search

Camden’s top cop: ‘Moped robbers would hit Hampstead even if police station was open’

10:00 15 August 2014

BJ Harrington. Picture: Dieter Perry.

BJ Harrington. Picture: Dieter Perry.

Dieter Perry

Camden’s most senior police officer has rejected claims that the closure of Hampstead police station has led to a surge of moped-riding robbers, insisting criminals would rob “whether the police station was there or not”.

Ch Supt Ben-Julian ‘BJ’ Harrington made the claim in response to a spate of seven muggings in Hampstead carried out in one day by a pair of teenagers riding on a scooter and targeting people with mobile phones on Saturday, August 2.

Last week, the Ham&High reported residents’ fears that the police station closure last June had left the area vulnerable to mugging sprees.

But Ch Supt Harrington, Camden’s borough commander, said: “My personal judgement is that the closure of Hampstead police station has no negative impact on the operational delivery of policing in Camden.

“I would much rather have officers on the streets patrolling rather than sat there waiting for people to come into the station.

“These people would rob in Hampstead or in Frognal and Fitzjohn’s whether the police station was there or not.”

The crime spree on August 2, which has resulted in a 16-year-old girl being charged with robbery, is the latest in a long line of muggings in Hampstead involving criminals on mopeds, stretching back to May last year.

In May this year, moped raiders smashed through the front door of ex-Championship footballer Alexander Merkel’s Hampstead home and the following month several mothers were mugged picking up children on the school run.

There have also been a number of violent muggings, involving hammers, targeting residents for their watches or jewellery.

Ch Supt Harrington was keen to stress that last week’s muggings were not linked to the previous violent muggings in Hampstead and elsewhere.

He said: “This is a teenager joy-riding on a stolen moped snatching phones opportunistically. This is not the same as what we have seen in Hampstead and Barnet, which has been almost a targeted approach, looking for people in expensive cars with expensive watches and we have seen hammers – that particularly violent and nasty crime.”

The borough commander also pointed out that there have been no violent muggings in Hampstead in the wake of a number of recent arrests.

Ch Supt Harrington also denied that the police had been slow to react to the mugging spree in Hampstead.

He added: “I absolutely refute any suggestion that we have sat back and done nothing for 18 months and it’s only because we have suddenly got our backside into gear that we are now doing something, or in fact it was the community meeting that has triggered us 
into being active.

“We have been active throughout this period but we have just had greater success recently.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:41
Tributes have been paid to actor Burt Kwouk

Tributes have been paid to renowned Hampstead actor Burt Kwouk, famous for his role in the Pink Panther films.

Yesterday, 17:15
Tom Franklin, former chair of the Camden Green Party, pictured with Sian Berry and other supporters outside court

Eight protesters cleared of any wrongdoing for their part in an arms fair protest will not face a retrial after a judge refused an appeal lodged by the Crown.

Yesterday, 16:18
The Ratclliffe family when Gabriella was one week old

The husband of a West Hampstead mum who has been held for 50 days in Iran without charge has hit out at the government for not doing enough to secure her release.

Yesterday, 14:04
Heather Brett, with her mother, Nora

A daughter is urging hospitals to prioritise dementia care after her 90-year-old mother had a “traumatic” experience at the Whittington.

Mon, 17:50
Left to Right: Artist Dom Pattinson, Zebra One gallery owner Gabrielle du Plooy, actor  Phil Daniels and Blur's Dave Rowntree with artwork for auction at the Star Boot Sale

A fan has bid £6,500 on an outfit worn by former Spice girl Melanie Chisholm, which was among celebrity cast-offs being sold off at the Star Boot Sale on Sunday.

Mon, 14:44
Barnet and Camden's re-elected Assembly Member Andrew Dismore said the inquiry currently being undertaken by Barnet Councill into the polling day blunder is looking

Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore has claimed the inquiry into the mayoral polling day debacle in Barnet is looking “increasingly like a whitewash”.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Mayor of Haringey Councillor Ali Ozbek. Photo: Polly Hancock

Haringey appointed its first mayor of Kurdish Alevi descent at a ceremony boosted with overseas family and the Turkish press on Monday.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Pets are leaping forward for initial photoshoots. Picture: Daniel Emani

An aspiring philanthropist is launching a Crouch End pets calendar to fundraise for animals abandoned in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal hit by the eurozone crisis.

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe