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Police chief aiming to hit targets

PUBLISHED: 11:23 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:53 07 September 2010

IT is a year since Chief Supt Dominic Clout replaced his predecessor Mark Heath in the role of Camden s Borough Commander. In one of his first days in the hot seat, Chief Supt Clout found himself watching what TV cameras appeared to show was the whole of

IT is a year since Chief Supt Dominic Clout replaced his predecessor Mark Heath in the role of Camden's Borough Commander.

In one of his first days in the hot seat, Chief Supt Clout found himself watching what TV cameras appeared to show was the whole of Camden Town burning down during last year's market fire.

Since that night in February, the borough's statistics have consistently shown healthy drops in crime rates but Chief Supt Clout is keen not to take all the credit.

"For me personally it has been a good year," he said. "I have to say I inherited a borough that wanted to really get out there and do the business.

"I think there was a view I was put in here to replace Mark because things were not going well but when I took over there had been some big changes and Camden was already improving."

The former borough commander of Kensington and Chelsea introduced a few modifications of his own - the most significant being a drive towards achieving targets.

"I have brought in a performance culture and laid down very clear expectations on all our officers. I don't expect second best," he said.

"Our intention is to meet the targets that are given to us and we are meeting every single one from the Home Office."

As well as hitting their targets, one aspect of his officers' performance which stands out is a 30 per cent reduction in street robbery.

There have also been dramatic falls in burglary meaning fewer victims of crime - all of which Chief Supt Clout is naturally keen to stress.

But he accepts the statistics, although lauded by police, are not always appreciated by residents: "I completely understand the public are simply not interested in 10 per cent here or two per cent there. What concerns them is what they see, what they experience and their quality of life.

"However, when it comes to their insurance rates, it does make a difference."

Things are set to get tougher for Camden, as the government is sure to set harder objectives for the coming year when it reviews the figures in March.

"It has been a good year but the challenge is next year when we have to maintain that performance," said Chief Supt Clout.

"We have had two years of consecutive crime reductions and I am intending on having a third one."

One factor which could put paid to his chances of achieving that hat trick of annual decreases is the worsening economy across the country, a circumstance which historically has ushered in a rise in crime.

Violent crime often goes up during such times, as does 'acquisitive' crime like burglary and theft that keeps criminals in pocket.

"We are meeting these targets at the moment but there are so many factors outside our control," added Chief Supt Clout.

"We have got a job to do which is to prevent and detect crime and that's what we are here to do.

"We have some tough challenges ahead. If crime goes up then we will do our best to combat it.

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