Robbery spree in Camden amid Royal celebrations

�A Camden police chief has revealed that robberies soared by 50 per cent while his officers were deployed on national security issues, including student protests and the Royal wedding.

The latest statistics show that there were 185 robberies between the start of the financial year and mid-May, compared to 120 in the same period in 2010.

Detective Superintendent Neil Wilson told the Ham&High that the jump in robberies happened while the borough’s force was depleted.

He said: “Officers are being deployed to events such as the Royal wedding, student demonstrations and the foreign embassies which reduces the number of officers on the street. International affairs in Iraq, Libya and Iran have enormous implications for us on the guarding of embassies and that’s been exacerbated by the Royal wedding.

“Then there are officers here that will form part of the command of the Olympics and that will add to the extraction from the borough.”

Det Supt Wilson said the problem was exacerbated by the hot weather, the high number of bank holidays and an increase in residents being out and about. Now, he revealed, a �30,000 crackdown on robberies has been launched, funded by the Met and the council.

Over the next 10 weeks robbery surveillance cars will be stationed on streets 24 hours-a-day and 999 staff will prioritise all robbery calls. Other measures include refusing suspects bail, carrying out mandatory searches on the properties of anyone arrested for robbery and increasing the use of knife arches.

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Det Supt Wilson said his force would pull out all the stops to stem the tide of robberies and this would extend to issuing Asbos to stop those convicted of robbery owning a mobile phone. The effects of the drive have already been seen with robberies down from five a day to just one.

The news follows a case where seven pupils from University College School in Hampstead were robbed during May.

On May 13, a 16-year-old boy, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted robbery at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court and received a nine-month referral order.