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Editor's comment: Why won't cops release mugshot of Muswell Hill sex offender who dodged court?

PUBLISHED: 08:30 06 June 2019 | UPDATED: 18:09 06 June 2019

Hampstead Town and Highgate wards could end up without any dedicated ward officers (DWOs). Picture: Ken Mears/Polly Hancock

Hampstead Town and Highgate wards could end up without any dedicated ward officers (DWOs). Picture: Ken Mears/Polly Hancock

Archant

If you're wondering about the lack of information regarding the convicted sex attacker on the loose in Muswell Hill, you're not the only one.

Oddly, despite having secured a successful conviction, the police were unable to give us either a custody photo of Mohammed Abdullahi or any sort of description of him. This is a man who assaulted a 16-year-old girl and then dodged court: if you don't put out a photo of him, who precisely do you put out a photo of?

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Scanning Scotland Yard's bank of press releases, the answer to that would appear to be: just about anyone. People on this news desk, me included, have got into arguments with the Met in the past over its refusal to release images of convicted paedophiles, yet it seems to have few qualms about putting out photos of people convicted of low-level drugs offences or receiving stolen goods, even when they aren't given a prison sentence.

Setting aside the risk on our part of defaming anyone who happens to have the same name and age as this man, it isn't much of a warning or an appeal if you can't tell people who they're looking out for. Instead, we are relying on those who actually know him to do the right thing - hopefully they will.

We reveal this week that Hampstead and Highgate are down to a single dedicated ward officer each - and are both about to lose even that.

It is no secret that the Met has been cut back to within an inch of its life - but surely that makes it even more imperative that Scotland Yard doesn't create work for itself? Ham&High readers represent thousands of extra pairs of eyes that could be used to track down Abdullahi so the police don't have to. There are Facebook groups, signs in shops and on lampposts - it's likely that, if the police issued a photo, he would either be spotted or realise the game was up and hand himself in. Instead, the police have almost literally given him a get-out-of-jail-free card.

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