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Met honoured for role in community safety projects at annual awards

News   •   Nov 24, 2017 10:48 GMT

Metropolitan Police Service officers and staff have been honoured at the 12th annual Problem Orientated Partnership (POP) Awards, hosted by Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt.

The annual awards, which took place on Thursday, 23 November, saw Gold being awarded jointly to the London Borough of Enfield and the London Borough of Newham; and Bronze was awarded to London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

The awards were created to promote the effective work being carried out by the police, partners from the local authorities and other agencies in order to help resolve recurring specific crime, disorder or public safety problems faced by police and the community.

Guests at the event included Dr Ben Bradford, Professor of Global City Policing at University College London, as well as heads of local authority Community Safety Teams, Borough Commanders and Area Commanders.

Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, said: "There has never been a time when effective and proactive crime prevention has been more important. With crime demands rising and changing, we need to be doing everything we can to reduce the opportunities for criminals.

“These awards showcase the best of ‘prevention first’. Many congratulations to all the nominees and thank you for the real contribution you are making to keeping London safe.”

Gold was awarded to the London Borough of Enfield, in recognition of their work to reduce illegal encampments on public land. The period between March 2016 and March 2017 saw more than 50 illegal encampments across the Borough, compared to ten in the previous year.

The encampments had a negative impact on the community as well as leaving clean-up costs in excess of £100,000.

Over a 12-month period police worked with Enfield Council using various legal enforcement orders to remove the caravans. On 21 July, Enfield Council obtained a High Court injunction covering all 130 parcels of public and park land in Enfield. This uniquely applies to ‘person unknown’ thus removing the need to identify specific individuals before action can be taken. No encampments have taken place in public land since the order was granted.

The second Gold was awarded to the London Borough of Newham for their work in safeguarding vulnerable tenants from drug dealers’ intent on taking over their homes to sell drugs and causing a nuisance to the wider community.

Since 2014 Newham Council have noticed an increase in ‘cuckooed’ premises, which are a significant anti-social behaviour and crime generator.

An example of this was the identification of six Newham premises which involved very vulnerable tenants in 2016. Over 60 non-residents were removed from these premises for breaching a Closure Order.

In 2015/16, Operation California investigated 27 suspected ‘cuckooed’ premises, of which 22 were successfully awarded Partial Premises Closure at court, this being achieved within 14 days of the initial investigation. The operation has achieved a 96 per cent success rate in safeguarding vulnerable and hard to engage tenants to enable them to retain their tenancies.

Bronze was awarded to London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham for a project which addressed the high levels of anti-social behaviour in the Shepherd’s Bush area.

The judging panel was made up of representatives from the MPS and Transport for London.

Chief Superintendent Iain Raphael, a panel judge for the event, said: “It was a real privilege to again be part of the judging panel for this year’s POP awards. There were some exceptional examples of evidence based problems solving with real tangible outcomes that have and are making an immense difference to Londoners. Given the current financial climate, problem solving approaches with the key ingredients of truly understanding the underlying issue, working with partners in the widest sense, applying a solution, checking its working and if not changing the approach and finally telling people about the evidenced based approach so that everyone benefits, must be the way forward. All of the finalists clearly demonstrated this and they should all be rightfully proud of their achievements.”

During the day guests were able to walk amongst the various stalls which included the following companies: CrimeStoppers, SelectaDNA, Embrace, Metropolitan Police Friendly Society and Police Mutual.

This year there were three runners up; London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London Borough of Croydon and London Borough of Havering’s Safer Transport Team.