Blog post -
“We looked for an escaped prisoner and found partnership with the public”
Chief Superintendent Clair Kelland, in charge of policing for south-west London, reflects on the pivotal role local people and police played in the search for Daniel Khalife.
“A week ago my control room received a call they had no idea would put south-west London at the centre of an international media frenzy.
“A prisoner on remand, awaiting trial, was alleged to have escaped Wandsworth Prison.
“Over the next four days, media descended upon Wandsworth and Richmond to tell the story of the search for Daniel Khalife.
“While the operation was being led by the imagination-sparking Counter Terrorism Command, a phenomenal amount of crucial work was also carried out by local police officers. They were aided by community members who shared the goal of keeping the area safe.
“I’m extremely proud both of my officers and the community here in the south west, who recognised their part in the big picture and played it with gusto.
“Across the four days of the search, hundreds of police officers and staff across Wandsworth, Richmond, Kingston and Merton were either carrying out work directly linked to the investigation or keeping their eyes peeled while going about their usual duties.
“It was local response officers who raced to meet and search the prison van, after the alarm about his disappearance was initially raised – managing to do so in just over 20 minutes!
“Safer neighbourhoods teams stayed on past their shifts to help scour Richmond Park in the wee hours of the morning.
“Yet more local officers probed the boroughs’ nooks and crannies.
“They spoke with numerous locals in person and online, trying to identify possible leads and reassuring people that counter terrorism policing had assessed Daniel Khalife did not pose a threat to the public.
“The community’s response was exceptional.
“People shared our social media posts and kept a look out. We received more than 100 calls from Londoners who had information they thought could assist the investigation and who had faith in us to get the job done.
“The information these people shared helped the Met to focus its enquiries and quickly close in on Daniel Khalife.
“I’m thankful to local residents for their patience amidst the disruption this large-scale operation brought to the area – their understanding made it easier for us to get on with the search.
“Collaborative working with communities is one way the Met aspires to tackle anti-social behaviour, violence and countless other harmful crimes that affect too many people, under the New Met For London Plan.
“The search for Daniel Khalife required huge resource – more than 150 counter terrorism officers, hundreds of police officers from local policing and yet more from pan-London teams like the dog unit and the police helicopter team.
“Not every investigation will demand such substantial resource but every crime fighting cause would benefit from the sort of strong local community and policing partnership seen during this operation.
“I look forward to working as a team with south-west Londoners in the future.”