East Finchley muggings: Police operation, parents patrols and community working together 'makes difference' in area targeted by robbery gang
PUBLISHED: 16:30 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 19:42 07 January 2020
Both a targeted police operation and patrols led by parents have "made a difference" in East Finchley after spate of violent robberies panicked the community late last year.
The parents' patrols, were to deter the mugging of young people apparrently targeted by a gang.
The group behind the patrols held a public meeting and has engaged with local police and shopkeepers in order to come up with strategies to keep crime down.
Local police were involved, attending the meeting and working with parents and shopkeepers to deter crime.
Sgt Chris Thompson, who is in charge of the local ward policing team, told this newspaper: "We conducted a two week reassurance and deterrence operation on the East Finchley High Road between December 9 and December 20.
"This saw a dramatic reduction in robberies in and around the High Road and no further robberies that we consider to be part of the series."
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Martin Bright, 53, was one of the parents to start the patrols after his own then-15-year-old son was among those to be mugged at knifepoint.
The former Guardian journalist told the Ham&High: "What's been very good has been the response from the sergeant and his team.
"They have been very receptive and also prepared to meet with the community.
"We had a public meeting with some quite angry parents challenging the police about what they have been actually doing."
Martin said he was encouraged by the progress made but said he remained concerned about "there being a sense of justice" and those responsible being held to account.
"It shows the connections and difference that the community can make. The patrols have made a difference. The question now is what happens next," he said.
Martin said he was concerned the Exchange on East Finchley High Road - run "by a really wonderful bloke" - was targeted by a group and graffitied with the word 'narc' - a reference to having helped the police.
Sgt Thompson said his team would "further review" the situation at the outset of the school year, but "it is fair to say this operation has achieved its objective".