A Message From Merton's Borough Commander

Chief Superintendent Darren Williams writes....

Dear All,

I hope that you have all had another good week in Merton - you will be pleased to know that this is the last update before my summer break, so you will be free from my ramblings for a fortnight!

Many of you will have read recent comments in the papers about crime figures and how we record offences. As I am sure you are aware, I am personally responsible for Merton's crime rate and I am set clear targets for both reducing crime and detecting it. I am accountable for these targets to many different people not least, the Commissioner, Deputy Mayor for Policing and of course, you - the public of Merton.

As many of you know in every area, apart from Theft Person, we are reducing crime and are solving more crimes than we did before. One very important tactic my officers use to maintain our crime reductions is the effective and proportionate use of their stop and search powers. We have done lots of work with our officers in Merton to ensure that stop and search is done fairly, with justification and conducted respectfully. We also have a local stop and search scrutiny committee to oversee what we do and as a result, we are regularly highlighted as best practice.

I have said many times that I am incredibly proud to be your Borough Commander and I believe that I have the best job in the greatest police force in the world. My primary objective will always be fewer victims of crime and everything we do at Merton is directed towards and judged against achieving that goal. What makes my job so special though is the amazing senior leadership team that I have working with me. I have met many of you at events over the last 18 months and got to know lots of you but I am not sure if you know the details of the true stars behind the results in Merton!

I have a very talented team of senior leaders and they are the real reason that we are seeing low and reducing crime levels and high and rising confidence and satisfaction levels. They all have a huge amount of energy, drive and determination, taking ownership and responsibility for their individual portfolios whilst synchronising the efforts of individual departments for the common good of the borough.

This is the main role of my deputy Detective Superintendent Dave Palmer, who has a wealth of experience and knowledge of policing London. Chief Inspector Phil Palmer (no relation to Dave!) is the dynamic energy behind the Neighbourhood Policing Teams, Chief Inspector Mark Lawrence is the very experienced and engaging lead for stakeholder & partnership relationships, Detective Chief Inspector Tracey Stevens brings her experience of specialist & borough crime to her role as our crime manager and T Chief Inspector Helen Harper is the ball of energy who runs Emergency Response and Patrol. In addition, Hanne Nelson is my long suffering higher analyst who interprets all the crime patterns and data for us and Jonathan Richards leads the team seeking out clues to crimes as my forensic manager.

I realise that we can never predict where our next challenge will come from but I do feel that we have the right team to take on and deal with whatever comes our way.

One problem that we can predict is the seasonal rise in burglary that has happened here every year for the last 5 years.

Every September, burglaries start to increase through to a peak in November. We are planning the police response to this but it really is something that every agency can and should be involved with across the Borough. Every single resident can also do something to tackle this issue. The list of things that we can do together is endless and I know that some groups are already getting together to discuss new things we haven't tried before. I urge all of you to get involved, even if it just keeping an eye out on properties in your road and then calling 999 every time you suspect burglars might be in your area.

Before I sign off this week, I just want to give you an update on our cycle ride for the British Heart Foundation. As you know I was suggesting that we would cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats to raise money in memory of PC Terry Elmer and PS Ian Harman. However, the logistics of that have proved to be impossible.

However, we have found a solution that I would like to explain to you.

As a way of remembering Terry and Ian, raising money for BHF but also demonstrating that Hate Crime will never have a place in Merton, we will do attempt the "Centenary Ride for Peace" with representatives from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and as many local people as possible.

Over 7 days we will ride the 520 miles between Glasgow and London, calling in and resting at various Mosques in-between.
We will start on a Sunday and finish at our Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden on a Saturday with a celebration where the Harman and Elmer families will be guests of honour.

The actual dates will be chosen over the next month or so but it is likely to be May / June next year and I will let you know as soon as the dates are chosen.

I realise that not all of you are cyclists but you are all invited to the celebration at the end of the ride. I would like to point out though, that the last day is a mere 12 mile ride across London to the finish in Morden so there is an option for any of you to join us for the last leg.

I think that is about it for now, I am not actually away until the end of next week so I may still see some of you before I go. I am coming back a day early as I have been invited to attend the Korean Festival at Fairfield Recreation Ground so I may see you there as well.

Thank you all for your continuing support.


July 26, 2013