Hampstead and Belsize Park residents tell police they want ‘more action’ after rise in moped crime

PUBLISHED: 13:41 15 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:14 15 September 2017

DCS Catherine Roper (far left standing) and Claire-Louise Leyland address the audience Picture: Nathan Louis

DCS Catherine Roper (far left standing) and Claire-Louise Leyland address the audience Picture: Nathan Louis


Victims described their horror stories to the borough commander at St Stephens yesterday evening

St Stephens hosted a meeting between residents and DCS Catherine Roper last night (Thursday) Picture: Nathan LouisSt Stephens hosted a meeting between residents and DCS Catherine Roper last night (Thursday) Picture: Nathan Louis

A meeting to address the recent surge in moped related crime last night ended with residents calling out for less talk and more action.

Camden and Islington detective chief superintendent and borough commander Catherine Roper spoke to residents for two hours at St Stephens but many concerned audience members told her they felt the issue had not yet been taken seriously enough and pleaded for the police to be more responsive to incidents.

DCS Roper, who was accompanied by inspector Richard Berns and detective sergeant John Pascal Barbe, began by apologising to victims of robberies and muggings. DCS Roper then announced that Camden was currently seeing the most thefts in the capital.

Inspector Richard Berns introduces himself at the meeting, held at St Stephens Picture: Nathan LouisInspector Richard Berns introduces himself at the meeting, held at St Stephens Picture: Nathan Louis

“We are suffering from this rise. We believe it is boys, 13 year olds who are repeat offenders, who are out stealing these phones which can fetch around £100 when sold.”

She also said that she believed that repeat offenders were coming in from outside of the borough, a claim which was rejected by Antonia Orpen from the Washington pub in Belsize Park, who was also dismayed at the lack of action that she has seen from local police officers.

“I have seen perhaps a 10-15 percent response rate to six incidents near my pub. And even when I have told the police I have 11 CCTV cameras, not one officer came to look. This has gotten completely out of control now,” she said.

St Stephens Picture: Nathan LouisSt Stephens Picture: Nathan Louis

“People are being mugged in broad daylight. I have seen six men on three mopeds raid a Starbucks with a sledgehammer and still nothing was done.”

Richard Engel, a foreign news correspondent, says he has “never felt less safe walking the streets than in London.” Mr Engel has previously lived in Beirut, Jerusalem, and Turkey, and moved to Belsize Park five months ago.

One man said he had been approached on August 30 at around midday by a man who smashed his car window with a hammer as he was driving out of a parking space. The victim managed to flee. When he reported the incident, he was told that an officer would be in touch but no one contacted to investigate. Two weeks later, the man showed CCTV footage of the incident to a safe neighbourhood officer. When the officer watched the video, the victim said he was told “we have let you down, this is armed robbery.”

The borough commander quashed rumours that officers were not allowed to pursue offenders on mopeds. “We are able to pursue people on mopeds and those who take their crash helmets off but we need to have drivers with high training.”

DCS Roper says that Camden is the only borough in London that has a dedicated service to tackle moped crime and her team are trialing a number of crime prevention ideas including the possibility of using drones, and a DNA trial spray in which the police can spray an offender which sticks to the clothing for a particular length of time - sometimes up to six months - meaning detectives can then link them to the scene of a crime.

“There is a huge amount of productivity going on but clearly we are not doing enough to curb things. I can feel the anger in the room,” DCS Roper admitted.

One audience member responded by saying: “I don’t care how sorry you are, we just want to know what you are going to do.”

Claire-Louise Leyland, leader of the Camden Conservative party and organiser of the meeting, suggested to DCS Roper that a follow up session would be useful for residents and a time of shortly after Christmas was proposed.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

60 minutes ago

The headteacher of Channing School has championed the ability of her students to combat tougher exams on A-level results day.


A-level results day started early at Highgate School - some students opened their envelopes at 6AM - as yet another year group smashed records to achieve the best results in the school’s history.


A record-breaking year at Fortismere School has seen students confirm places at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge on A-level results day.


A “fabulous range” of A-level results at LaSWAP Sixth Form Centre has seen students meet offers from universities as diverse as Falmouth and SOAS.


UCS Hampstead bursary students have been singled out for praise on the day the school received its second best A-level results ever.


In just over six months, Britain will leave the European Union. As concerns about the prospect of a “no-deal” build, we speak to shop owners, councillors and business leaders to find out how it could affect the area.


The headteacher of Henrietta Barnett School has championed her ‘inspirational’ sixth formers on A-level results day.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now