Police update – October 2016

The most important news is that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, has announced his retirement with effect from early next year. The appointment of his successor is in the gift of the Home Secretary, with ‘due regard’ to the Mayor’s views.

During the summer break I met with the Borough Commanders in both Camden and Barnet.

The most important issue to come out of Camden was that it looks almost certain now that Camden will be a pilot for the proposed borough BCU police mergers, with Islington. There is still a lot of detail to be worked out. There will not however, be a public consultation on the merger plan.

In Barnet, we have a new Borough Commander, Det. Ch. Supt. Simon Rose. The most important news here is that the extra constable for each of the ward safer neighbourhood teams promised by the mayor is in place already.

As is confirmed by answers to my Mayor’s questions (link  below), the extra firearms officers are being taken from within the Met.’s current strength by redeploying existing officers, there will not be additional numbers of officers.

Both boroughs also have a high proportion of less experienced officers.

Our first Police and Crime Committee meeting after the Summer break was on the subject of violence against women and girls: Transcript of September Police Committee is available here.

The Police and Crime Committee report – ‘Serious Youth Violence assesses the reasons behind the rise in youth violence in the capital and examines other emerging trends involving young people as both victims and perpetrators of violent crime.

  • The number of victims of serious youth violence[1] has risen in the capital by over 20 per cent since 2012-13.
  • Half of all reports of youth violence in London involve a knife.

The report found that a dominant driver for the increase, particularly of knife crime, is the belief among young people that they need to be prepared to defend themselves. This is driven by a misconception of the volume of weapons on the streets, as well as fear fuelled by incidents that occur in their communities.

The report recommends that if a serious incident occurs, there needs to be a concerted effort by the police and other agencies to reassure young people that they are safe and to tackle the immediate sense of danger. This may be through intelligence led stop and search, more visible patrols, or by agencies working with local youth clubs and schools.

Other findings of the report include:


  • Serious youth violence is not solely a gang issue. Data provided to the Committee shows that gangs are involved in a relatively small amount of serious youth violence: just under five per cent in 2015-16.
  • Almost a quarter of all victims of serious youth violence in the capital—around 1,500—are young women.
  • Under-reporting among young people is a problem and greater awareness of the different ways young people can report anonymously is needed.


Double gunshot murder in East Finchley: police were called by London Ambulance Service at approximately 06:25hrs on Thursday, 15 September, to reports of two people injured at an address in Elmshurst Crescent, N2. Officers attended and found a 21-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman suffering from gunshot injuries. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. An arrest has since been made. Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8358 0300, or to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The London Safer Neighbourhood Board (SNB) meeting due to take place on 11th October has been delayed after I intervened with  Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime,  and  pointed out that the date of the meeting clashed with Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.  I am pleased that Deputy Mayor Linden agreed to my request to move the date. Given the rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes over the last few years and the subsequent fears held by members of the Jewish community about safety, it is important that there are Jewish voices feeding in to the work of the Police. A new date is yet to be set for the meeting, though it is likely to take place in October.

Finally, the latest answers (and non-answers) from my policing questions at September Mayor’s Question Time.