Merton Police Chief Reassures Residents

Extra resources in place to protect the borough

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Merton's police commander Dick Wolfenden has reassured residents that extra resources are in place to cope with any further disturbances in the borough.

The Tandem and Priory shopping centre in Colliers Wood were the victims of arson and looting attacks on Monday night. There were also reports of broken shop windows in Wimbledon Village.

Some Wimbledon town centre shops closed early and boarded up on Tuesday night, but it remained all quiet. Many remained boarded up on Wednesday and the AbbeyFest arts festival was closed on Wednesday night on police advice.

Dick Wolfenden (left) said on Wednesday (August 10): "Following on from the violence, disorder, theft and criminal damage which took place on Monday within Merton we have worked together with the local authority, community groups (especially the business community) and other local stakeholders to plan and prepare for any outbreaks of similar criminal activity on the borough.

"As a result of a significant number of extra resources (supplemented by volunteers, special constables, police staff and other regular officers who have volunteered to come in from home) we are in a much improved position to cope with any future civil unrest and disorder.

"Our local CID are actively investigating the events that took place on Monday evening and we will follow all available leads to bring those responsible to justice. Last night was significantly quiet and any intelligence which suggested that groups were gathering intent on criminal behavior was actioned and potential offenders robustly dealt with."

"Our current intelligence does not suggest any immediate threat to local public order, however we are not complacent and will ensure we sustain optimum staffing levels for some time to come.

"As always, I am extremely proud of all my staff and especially those who for a considerable time were expected to deal with large hostile crowds who were intent on causing criminal damage and stealing goods. We have been overwhelmed by messages of support from all sections of the community which has also been greatly appreciated by all staff."

Mr Wolfenden went on patrol himself around the Tandem and Priory shopping centres on Wednesday and he was also there during the height of the troubles.

He added: "Currently I have no reason to believe that any reoccurrence is either being planed or imminent and I would encourage local businesses to try to return to a state of normality and adopt a ‘business as usual approach.

"If you would like to pass on any comments or thoughts to our officers and staff, please email us at

"Merton police warn anyone who may be inclined to engage in civil disorder and theft to consider the consequences of such action - especially in terms of how such activity is impacting on their local communities."

"We also encourage anyone who knows of any individuals or groups that have either been involved in the recent disorder or are planning future events to let us know by calling the Major Incident Room on 0208 345 4142, or the new 101 non-emergency police contact number.

"You can also call Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111."

August 10, 2011