Weekly Message From Merton's Police Borough Commander

Darren Williams focuses on Burglary, Theft (person) and Domestic Violence

"Dear all,

I hope that you are all well and that you have had a good week.

Thank you to everyone who came along to the various remembrance services across Merton on Sunday and Monday. All the services were well attended and it was great to see people paying their respects to those who fought and died for this country. It was a massive honour for me to be asked to lead the presentation party at the annual memorial service for deceased police colleagues on Wednesday at Westminster Cathedral pic.twitter.com/iz4oLQpnN9

Wherever I have been this week, there is a worrying trend that people keep asking me why I look so tired ! Whilst it is true that I am 14 days into a run of 28 days in a row I don't want any of you to think I am moaning - I still believe that I have the best job in the best police service in the world. It is just this time of year is always incredibly congested for me. A combination of careers fairs, remembrance services, fundraisers and events that you all keep inviting me to - mixed in with the simple (and in no way demanding) task of running a borough with the highest public satisfaction and lowest fear of crime levels in London !!

On a more serious note I want to touch again this week on 3 crime types that we must all constantly keep in focus at this time of year - Burglary, Theft (person) and Domestic Violence.

As some of you know, a while back, I told you all that the top 4 highest wards for residential burglary in Merton are - Pollards, West Barnes, Graveney and Abbey.

As a result of this data, we ran several operations within those wards and they were prioritised for increased patrols from Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

The combined efforts of this and our communications with you delivered the following results ;-

• 48% reduction in Graveney (23 Offences, compared with 44)
• 13% reduction in Pollards Hill (45 offences, compared with 52)
• 50% reduction in West Barnes (15 Offences, compared with 30)
• 44% reduction in Abbey (22 offences, compared with 33)

However, it is important that I mention whilst these boroughs have seen burglary reductions, some wards have seen worrying increases ;

- Longthornton has seen the biggest increase +42% (50 offences, compared with 29)
- Colliers Wood +31% (36 offences, compared with 25)
- Cannon Hill +31% (36 offences, compared with 25)

If I were to look further into this data, I can tell you that of 308 burglaries from 1st April - 27th October, over half of them were from Sheds and Garages. Clearly, you have all got better at protecting your homes but it is a different tale regarding sheds and garages - as I sit here I regularly see crime reports that start, "Victim, left Garage open….."

Whilst no crime is ever the fault of the victim - please can you all make sure that you invest the same level of security in your sheds and garages as you do with your homes. Not only does it make it far too easy to steal when you don't, but in most cases you will invalidate your home insurance if you leave your premises insecure.

Please watch this video for some specific advice about Shed security m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=gjJp…

I mentioned last week that YOU are the best security device ever invented. If you see ANYTHING suspicious at or near your or your neighbours house - call 999 as soon as possible. This is so important to us as it means that we can get to the scene whilst the thieves are there and catch them.

"Better to call us and not need us than need us but not call us".

A good example of this last week when police were alerted by a vigilant resident about a man that was asking questions about their neighbour. He first stated that he was doing some roofing work and what time the neighbour be in etc and then asked when they would be around at the weekend. The neighbour was really switched on and not only didn't divulge any details but was very suspicious of the male as he knew his neighbours were away and certainly were not having any work done. The neighbour contacted the house owner who in turn called 101. As a result the teams that were on in that area kept an eye on the house and did regular patrols in case the man returned.

This is a really good example of how the local policing model should work - police and the community working together to help keep communities safe. It is also a reminder that if you have a good relationship with your neighbours let them know when you go away and to urge you all to call us if you ever experience anything similar or feel someone is watching premises which might be unoccupied.

I will touch very quickly on Theft (person) which has seen an increase so far this year. Since the introduction of the high visibility T-shirts worn by staff in pubs in Wimbledon Town Centre, warning customers to be vigilant of pickpockets there has been a drop in theft offences in the town centre. However, there has been no reduction in mobile phone theft and they still remain the most commonly stolen item across the borough.

Across the country 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men, 100's & 1000's of children & 2 precious lives every week are affected by Domestic Violence. Last weekend we arrested 12 people for Domestic Assault - by far the highest total in a weekend this year. By making a 999 call about domestic violence you may literally be saving someone's life, so thank you to all those that picked up the phone and helped stop this terrible crime. Merton borough are just about to launch this years 16 days against violence campaign, which starts on 25th November with White Ribbon day and continues through to 10th December. Specialist advice and support for Domestic Violence is available at Wimbledon Police Station or at the One-Stop-Shop every Monday at Morden Baptist Church 9.30am -12.30pm.

That’s about it for this week. I am in over the weekend and on Sunday I am at the amazing Loy-Krathong (Floating Flowers) Festival at the Buddhapadipa Temple in Calonne Road, SW19. If you are free, try and pop along it really is a fantastic day where along with the cultural shows and flower festival, there are 15 Thai food and grocery stalls serving and selling an amazing variety of foods and sweets.

On final thing - thanks to every who has bought tickets for the Merton Messiah that is going to be performed by the London Festival Orchestra next Thursday, 21st November. As you know this event is put on specifically to help provide a traditional Christmas meal for our most in need families this Christmas. I think there are still one or two tickets left and if you want them please email themertonmessiah@gmail.com as soon as possible.

That really is it now - have a great weekend and I will write to you again next Friday"

Many Thanks

Darren Williams

November 15, 2013

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Borough Commander Darren Williams