London deputy mayor for policing: ‘I’ll discuss Hampstead crime rise at highest level of Met’
06:50 07 August 2014
The deputy mayor of policing for London has pledged to raise community concerns about a crime rise in Hampstead at the highest level of the Metropolitan Police.
City Hall crime chief Stephen Greenhalgh said he would “formally” discuss concerns about crime and the closure of Hampstead police station with the Met’s assistant commissioner for territorial policing.
He made the promise in a letter to Camden Council’s cabinet member for crime, Cllr Jonathan Simpson, sent on July 16.
Mr Greenhalgh said: “I am concerned to ensure that there is proper police visibility, and that the extra neighbourhood officers planned for Camden are delivered quickly and are available to patrol where they are needed.
“As a result, I will be raising the matter formally with assistant commissioner Helen King when I meet her later this month.
“Together we want to ensure that policing locally meets the need of Londoners, and that the Met Police in Camden have the best operational deployment plan for all parts of the borough.”
Cllr Simpson took over the council’s crime portfolio after a cabinet reshuffle following local elections in May and wrote to the deputy mayor the following month.
A wave of violent crime in Hampstead in recent months - including mothers being mugged on the school run, moped ram-raids on homes, and designer watches being stolen from their owners’ wrists - has left sections of the community reeling.
Campaigners believe the closure of Hampstead police station in June last year has left the area exposed as an easy target for criminals.
Mr Greenhalgh said in his letter: “I agree that police presence is important and Hampstead residents deserve to be and to feel safe, but buildings do not catch burglars.
“Effective crime prevention is delivered by having more officers in visible neighbourhood roles and out on the street, not by having police officers inside old buildings that the public do not visit.”
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