Clapham Common Policing News – July 2015

This is the Clapham Common Ward Policing News Update for July 2015. To keep up-to-date with the latest news and developments you can also follow us on Twitter @MPSClaphamCom.

July began with many residents on the ward discovering damage to their windscreen wipers and cars. Between 25 and 50 vehicles are suspected to have been damaged and where we have noticed damage we have actively sought out the vehicle owners. We are pleased to report that a man was arrested for the criminal damage and we expect to be able to provide further details regarding charges etc. next month. We are also looking to put some measures in place to help reduce the risk of any recurrence.

With the help of a local resident, living on Narbonne Avenue, we were able to arrest and charge a man for theft from motor vehicle. The resident’s excellent CCTV system (one of a growing number across the ward) captured the offence in what might be described as “1080p high-definition”! Allowing us to instantly identify the suspect, enabling his arrest and subsequent charge. We really do appreciate the support of residents and with growing numbers of private CCTV installations we hope that we can continue to rely on such systems to help us fight crime.

Since the Co-Op opened on Abbeville Road, we have seen increasing levels of shoplifting. This is often the case with new stores where staff aren’t aware of local offenders. Thanks to another excellent CCTV system – and staff who have worked with us to make the most of this excellent resource – we have been able to arrest 8 of our most prolific thieves, each responsible for multiple offences. A number of these individuals – as a result of their persistent and prolific offending – have found themselves on the receiving end of prison sentences. We have also adopted a pro-active approach, arresting 3 offenders following pro-active stop and searches, prior to the stores even having reported the thefts.

With the arrival of summer – and the temptation being ever-present to leave a door or window open in warmer weather – we have noticed a rise in burglary. Burglary is a dreadful crime, causing real upset and misery. I can speak from personal experience of coming home to find my flat door kicked in and items stolen. While the majority of these thankfully rare crimes take place when nobody is at home, we did have one particularly alarming burglary where the burglar was disturbed by a child on Rodenhurst Road at around 7am and to combat this extra patrols in uniform and plain clothes are being carried out and we are working hard to identify, deter and disrupt any suspects.

We would ask residents to remain vigilant and to report, by calling police (101 or 999 in an emergency), any suspicious individuals. If in doubt, please do call – and we would encourage you to follow up your call with an email to us claphamcommon.snt@met.police.uk. With your help we can make the Abbeville Road and Clapham Common area as hostile as possible to those engaged in criminal activity.

The Notre Dame Estate suffered from a number of firearms incidents in the earlier part of July and we have sought to increase the frequency of our patrols and weapon sweeps to deter gang members and other criminal elements from loitering on the estate. For the vast majority of the time the Estate is free of such serious issues, however recent incidents have understandably shaken up many residents.

We have continued our regular drug and weapon sweeps on the Notre Dame Estate, finding and recovering a number of weapons, including large kitchen knifes, golf clubs, bats and metal bars. To help build relations we have plans to carry out a contact card drop of the entire estate, in the hope that residents will feel better able to share, whether directly or anonymously, information that might help us keep the Estate safe. We can only be effective with the support of you, the vast majority of our law-abiding residents.

On a more positive note, I attended the Oaklands Estate Community Group Annual General Meeting and got to speak to many residents and discuss the significant progress that has been made over the last two years, with stairwells being much clearer of youths loitering and much less litter and debris. I emphasised that I will be continuing my patrols of the estate in order to ensure that this progress is not lost. I will also be accompanying the Chair of the Group on Estate Walkabouts with Lambeth Council so that we can best address any environmental issues as fully as possible.

I have also done my best to provide a visible policing presence on Clapham Common itself, as I know that this is valued by residents and visitors who have in the past experienced either anti-social behaviour or otherwise been caused concern. I hope to continue these visible patrols – predominantly on bicycle – over the remainder of the Summer.

Finally, work commenced on the junction of Elms Road and Abbeville Road in July, where new raised ramps are now in place to improve road safety at this busy crossing which is used by many families and children both to access the Common, the shops on Abbeville Road and the many local schools. A very special thank you must go to local resident Judy Mitchem who has worked so hard and demonstrated real community leadership on this issue.

We hope that this demonstrates our continued commitment to tackling crime, illegal drugs and anti-social behaviour wherever it exists in the Abbeville Road area and Clapham Common Ward. We continue regular patrols of stairwells, communal areas and open spaces. We appreciate the continued support of our residents and would ask any information regarding crime be provided in the usual fashion and by Crimestoppers if you prefer to do so anonymously (0800 555 111).

If you’d like to receive news updates via email you can sign up to Neighbourhood Link or email the team at claphamcommon.snt@met.police.uk and request to be added to the Ward Panel Newsletter. If you feel we have missed something out or would like us to address a particular issue, please do get in touch.

About the Author

PC Rory Geoghegan
I was the Dedicated Ward Officer for Clapham Common Ward in the London Borough of Lambeth until May 2016. I’m a former strategy consultant and criminal justice researcher. As a Dedicated Ward Officer I was something of a foot and cycle patrol fanatic! All views expressed are/were personal opinions and the usual disclaimers apply.

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