A Christmas Message From Merton's Police Borough Commander

Darren Williams on the "honour" of being Borough Commander...

"Dear all,

As this is my last message to you before Christmas I wanted to take this opportunity to say again what a huge honour it is for me to be your Borough Commander. 

Nothing sums up this up more than the events of the last two days and I would like to tell you a bit about them. This morning started with Inspector Stuart Buchan and his Safer Neighbourhood Team executing a search warrant at Gladstone House, Mitcham.

They recovered Class A drugs, body armour, a knife, a kendo stick and various other weapons. A suspect has been arrested and he is currently in custody at Sutton Police Station. 

Later this morning I was with an army of volunteers at Morden Baptist Church packing up nutritious festive meals that will feed over 2,500 of our most in need people this Christmas. Tomorrow, we will deliver these meals across Merton. I know some of you are helping with this but just in case I don't get to thank you personally - thank you so much. You really will make a difference to the lives of our most in need people - surely this is the true spirit of Christmas? 

Yesterday, one of our officers, nipped out to buy his lunch. As he walked through Wimbledon High Street he witnessed the attempted theft of a pedal cycle. Our officer intervened and was about to arrest the "thief" when he discovered that it was actually a sting operation by channel five news to show that people don't get involved when the see a crime - er, hello, welcome to Merton! 

Over the last few weeks a trial at Kingston Crown Court was taking place of Dean Gray. Gray was found guilty of 13 counts of burglary and conspiracy to burgle and was sentenced to six years in prison. In his closing remarks the Judge singled out our proactive lead, DI Dan O'Sullivan for his work and as a result, Dan will receive a Judges Commendation.

Last week I told you that to ensure you all enjoy a safe and peaceful Christmas and New Year we have increased our patrols in your neighbourhoods. We are specifically targeting alcohol-related violence, license breaches, theft and sexual offences. I am very pleased to tell you that the latest data shows that this has been a massive success so far. We have reduced all of these crimes since the same period last year with the highlight being a 67% reduction in mobile phone theft so far.

Whilst this is merely a snapshot of activity over the last few days, I believe that it represents what we have achieved over the last year. My wonderful officers, PCSO's, staff, special constables, volunteers and cadets achieve these results through their relentless hard work and dedication throughout the year.  It is their combined efforts that have made Merton a safer borough to work, live, commute in and visit. Time and again they have had to work long unsociable hours and had their shifts changed at the last minute.

They have also had to adapt to the biggest cultural change within the MPS for a generation with the introduction of the Local Policing Model. As we have adapted to meet these new challenges, I have had to make some tough decisions that have often made things uncertain and difficult for our people, particularly when their jobs are impacted.

Despite this, your officers and staff have taken satisfaction levels to the highest in the MPS whilst driving down the fear of Anti-Social Behaviour to the lowest levels in the MPS - I simply could not be prouder of any other statistic.

It is important to say that we have not achieved these results alone. We have worked closely with our amazing, award-winning local authority and our engaging and supportive partners and residents. Together we have made Merton a harder place for criminals to operate and we re-designed our processes so that we can better manage the dangerous and support the vulnerable.

Despite this and everything else that has gone on in 2013, we are ready for the challenges of 2014. I still believe that I have the greatest job in the greatest police force in the world and I remain totally committed to providing you with high quality, borough focused policing that you can be proud of.

Please take care to keep your possessions and homes secure over the Christmas and New Year periods and if you see anything or anyone suspicious please call 999 straight away. From all my officers and staff I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a safe and peaceful New Year.

Darren Williams

December 20, 2013

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Borough Commander Darren Williams