Significant fall in crime in Camden - but crime levels still third highest in London

Chief Supt Richard Tucker acting Borough Commander of Camden.

Chief Supt Richard Tucker acting Borough Commander of Camden. - Credit: Archant

Camden’s acting borough commander has announced “police work is not rocket science” after new figures reveal a significant fall in overall crime.

But the borough still has some of the highest crime rates in the capital – and there was a sharp rise in fraud cases last year.

New Scotland Yard figures show a nine per cent reduction in total crimes in 2012/2013, compared with the previous financial year. The total number of reported crimes fell by 3,107 to 32,777.

But the total crime figure is the third highest in London, while the borough is second behind Westminster when population is taken into account. There were 15 crimes reported for every 100 people in 2012/2013.

Fraud bucked the trend that saw reductions in most types of crime with a sharp rise of 35 per cent – up from 1,132 cases to 1,529.

Police say this is partly down to a spate of “courier scams”, where victims are duped into handing over cash to courier drivers after receiving a phony call from their bank.

Acting borough commander Chief Supt Richard Tucker, who leaves the post next Wednesday to be replaced by Chief Supt Ben-Julian Harrington, said: “It’s been a good year. Overall reported crime is down about nine per cent and there were about 3,000 less victims of crime, which in anyone’s book is good.

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“There are many factors for that. We were far more focused this year on our offenders and our hotspot areas, especially the night-time economy in Bloomsbury and Camden.

“We went towards far more visible policing and we worked more appropriate hours, when most people are on the streets. Police work is not rocket science.”

But the annual figures show that detection rates are some of the lowest in London – with only 19 per cent of crime reports leading to a charge, caution or other action.

The lowest detection rate was for bike thefts with just two per cent – or 18 out of 1,140 cases, resulting in a charge or caution.

Meanwhile, thefts accounted for 54 per cent of the total crime figures, with the second most in London at 17,627. The detection rate was just seven per cent.

Chief Supt Tucker also spoke about the impending shake-up of policing. This will see fewer Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) officers dedicated to single wards supported by other police teams covering the borough.

Mayor Boris Johnson insists that the changes will result in more police officers covering the borough overall.

Chief Supt Tucker revealed that the changes were provisionally planned to take effect on June 23 and insisted they would improve policing.

“SNTs have done an amazing job at getting a far more visible presence in the street,” he said.

“But in a time of cuts and stretched resources, we have got to maximise every asset we have got – and the fact is we are putting more officers into neighbourhoods.

“This is about putting more officers into the borough and that can’t be a bad thing. I’m very optimistic about it.”