The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, joined local neighbourhood and specialist police officers on a Winter Nights patrol in Greenwich to see first-hand how the Met Police is working to tackle violence and crime and keep our communities safe day and night.
Sadiq joined Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matthew Ward and a Safer Neighbourhood patrol working after dark in the town centre, busy transport hubs and around major tourist attraction the Cutty Sark to see how officers are targeting robbery, violence and burglary hotspots.
Winter nights can lead to an increase in burglaries and people feeling unsafe after dark, with criminals taking advantage of the shorter days as a cover for their activity.
In response, officers are carrying out targeted patrols to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour and violence across London. This includes visible patrols on busy locations such as transport hubs and Christmas markets and working with businesses, shops and venues in the capital’s night-time economy.
In Greenwich, there is evidence to show this approach is beginning to show results, with robbery remaining below pre-pandemic levels and burglary offences down by seven per cent in the last 12 months.1
The action is part of the Met Commissioner’s New Met for London Plan to revitalise local neighbourhood policing across the capital and rebuild trust with local communities by taking a targeted approach to all forms of crime.
The Mayor is supporting this refreshed approach with record investment in the police – including funding 1,300 officers and recruiting 500 new police community support officers to deal with local priorities in high-harm areas. 2
This targeted enforcement action is working alongside education and early intervention work by the police and City Hall. This includes 500 Safer Schools Officers visiting local schools, universities and youth centres to educate young people on the dangers of knife crime and carrying a weapon.
The Mayor’s Violence Reduction Unit3 – the first of its kind in England and Wales – is focused on tackling the complex causes of crime through prevention and early intervention. The VRU has supported more than 150,000 young people over the last two years and since it was formed in 2019, homicides have decreased by a quarter and knife crime of under-25s with injury reduced by 15 per cent.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Nothing is more important to me than keeping Londoners safe and we know that having a visible, local safer neighbourhood team can make a huge difference.
“Our communities are the eyes and ears of the police and the targeted policing activity I have seen today is helping to drive down burglary, robbery and anti-social behaviour in the winter months, as well as rebuilding public confidence and trust in the police.
“But there is still a lot more work to do. We know we cannot arrest our way out of this issue and that’s why this enforcement action is taking place alongside my investment in prevention and intervention work by my Violence Reduction Unit to support young Londoners at critical stages in their lives so that we can build a better, safer London for all.”
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward, who leads on serious violence for the Met, said: “Violent crime has a devastating impact on individuals, their families and the wider community.
“During the winter months, there has historically been an increase in violence particularly in offences committed against women and girls. With shorter days, celebrations and office parties on the lead-up to Christmas and New Year’s, and school closures for the holidays, there are unfortunately opportunities for criminality, including those prepared to use violence.
“Our officers are working hard to ensure that the streets of London are safe and we are devoting huge resources into preventing these awful crimes from happening in the first place.
“This includes bespoke operations targeting hotspots where women and girls feel most unsafe, operations targeting knife crime and violent robbery, and conducting surge activity to ensure that Londoners are kept safe. We are also continuing engagement work with our communities and partners.
“Tackling violence in all its forms and ensuring all Londoners feel safe on the streets of London, remains front and centre of our focus. We are working with our partners and the community to target the root causes of these devastating crimes and find long-term solutions.”