Clapham Common Policing News – August 2015

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

The most worrying development in early August was the emergence of a pattern of overnight residential burglaries. Burglary is a horrible crime at the best of times, but the overnight offences increase the chances of residents being present. As a result we took significant steps to increase patrols in the affected areas and following a number of significant arrests by the team and colleagues the burglary problem has returned to a low level. We remain vigilant.

Two men were arrested on suspicion of burglary following a stop and search between Clapham Common Southside and Abbeville Road. They were found in possession of Apple Computer equipment believed stolen at the time. I hope to be able to provide a fuller update with regards this particular case in due course.

In other burglary-related news, the burglar arrested in May has subsequently admitted to committing a total of 24 burglaries in the Clapham and Brixton areas. His apprehension has helped prevent many more victims.

A suspect in a number of burglaries was spotted by off-duty officers near Clapham South and the subject was subsequently arrested for several burglaries. During the arrest a number of officers were injured. Enquiries are currently ongoing. I hope to be able to provide a further update in due course.

Over the course of a set of night shifts we also stopped a number of prolific thieves and were able to arrest a number of these for drug offences, helping prevent what we fear would have been a significant number of theft from motor vehicle offences. A suspect was also chased and with assistance from the dog unit, we were able to arrest a male on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle (a moped), criminal damage (to a car during the foot chase) and drug offences. The male has been charged with criminal damage and the drug offences.

The Co-Operative Food on Abbeville Road continues to suffer from theft, though at much lower levels. The introduction of new security measures including security barriers, the tagging of food and the use of security staff, has helped to reduce the level of offending. We also hope that the numerous arrests made by the team – and made possible by excellent CCTV – will have helped deter many from trying their luck and sent out a clear signal that police will not tolerate theft on Abbeville Road.

One notable arrest involved a suspect being identified on Clapham High Street – a male who had stolen a full basket of wine – from the Co-Op on Abbeville Road. It rather helped that he was wearing exactly the same clothing. When stopped and searched he was also found in possession of heroin and a number of hypodermic needles.

We have also sought to maintain a visible police presence on and around the Oaklands Estate. In August we stopped and searched a number of individuals on the estate, who were found in possession of drugs and fake passports. The individuals were not linked to the estate, but instead appeared to be passing through. We know the estate is used as a cut-through for many and will continue to work hard to ensure that individuals engaged in criminality do not use the estate.

We continue to conduct regular weapon sweeps of the Notre Dame Estate and continue to get knives and other weapons off the street. In August we have also been fortunate in being able to call upon the support of dog and specialist units to support us. We have also been carrying out patrols in company with Lambeth Living / Lambeth Council to help ensure a joined up approach both in terms of crime, but also tenancy enforcement and environmental matters. As always, we do encourage residents to report any suspicious activity or anti-social behaviour by calling police or using the anonymous CrimeStoppers service.

At the end of August the SW4 Festival drew large crowds to Clapham and the Common in the last weekend of August. The event is significant as it poses a number of challenges, both in terms of crime and disorder. Organised groups of pickpockets will target such events to steal phones and other items, drug dealers seek to pedal their products and individuals who have had too much to drink can either cause problems or leave themselves vulnerable to being victimised. The event passed off without serious incident inside the event itself. A large quantity of nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) was also seized from sellers and users, with the Public Spaces Protection Order proving very useful in this regard.

Outside of the event footprint, local residents will have noticed and likely suffered from increased noise nuisance, littering and the debris associated with individuals who have had far too much to drink and/or consumed drugs. As the local Dedicated Ward Officer, I welcome your views on the SW4 Festival and the impact it has (you can email claphamcommon.snt@met.police.uk). While the activity within the footprint is monitored by large numbers of security staff, I recognise that resources beyond the footprint are much more limited and that – aside from the noise over the weekend – this, along with the behaviour that results and debris that gets left, is my biggest concern and likely the biggest concern to residents.

Last, but by no means least, I paid a visit to St James Church between Park Hill and Briarwood Road, having an opportunity to meet some of the congregation and listen to any policing concerns. The visit was set against the backdrop of the stunning stained glass windows. The church had to be rebuilt after the Second World War following a bomb exploding – it was great to hear that the Church is doing well and growing.

We hope that this update 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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