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A year on from the launch of the Met’s Predatory Offender Units officers have made more than 2,500 arrests

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A year on from the launch of the Met’s Predatory Offender Units officers have made more than 2,500 arrests

One-year on: specialist officers from the Met’s Predatory Offender Units have arrested over 2,500 high harm offenders.

The Predatory Offender Units (POU) were set up to tackle those posing significant risk to adults and children, in our ultimate mission of keeping London safe for everyone.

Across London, all 12 Basic Command Units (BCU) now house a POU team focused on finding and arresting ‘high harm’ offenders wanted for crimes including domestic and child abuse, sexual exploitation and human trafficking. They prevent and disrupt offending by developing intelligence and using a range of tactics to bring offenders to justice. They also support local police teams in enforcing breaches of restrictions placed on offenders by the courts.

The units were launched on Monday, 2 November 2020 to identify and arrest the most serious offenders and reduce the risk of repeat offending. Around 90 officers from across the Met arrested more than 2,500 high harm offenders, averaging to around 50 a week. These include 1,312 arrests for domestic abuse offences, 378 for sex offences and 115 for child abuse offences.

Additionally, they have obtained 154 court orders and executed 175 search warrants.

POU officers are generally arrest teams and they will assist officers from Public Protection units and CID by carrying out urgent arrest enquiries for high harm offenders. Out of the small number of cases kept by POU they have secured over 560 positive outcomes – this includes charges, cautions and formal warnings.

Examples of POU arrests include:

An officer from Central North Basic Command Unit (BCU) arrested a suspect in relation to a series of indecent exposures committed whilst riding a moped. Three female victims were quickly identified and evidence was captured from them. The vehicle registration number for the moped was established and information suggested that he may have been a delivery rider. Enquiries were conducted with delivery companies which identified the suspect and placed him in the vicinity at the time of the offences. The suspect was consequently arrested at his home address, where distinctive clothing and his phone were seized. The bike used in the offending was also seized. He was charged for exposure and voyeurism offences. He awaits sentencing.

In September, officers from North East BCU Predatory Offender Unit were made aware of a stranger rape of vulnerable teenage girl in the Westfield area. CCTV still images were obtained of the suspect close to the scene at the time of the offence. The officers then identified the suspect via his Oyster card and traced him to North Greenwich station. The POU travelled to the station and positively identified the suspect, who was wearing the same clothing from the CCTV images. He was arrested and charged. It took only two days for the POU and Sapphire team to locate and arrest the suspect.

Detective Superintendent Matthew Pilch, lead responsible officer for domestic abuse, said: “The Predatory Offender Units are just one of the ways in which we are investing to protect women and girls. They have seen great successes over the past twelve months.

“Our officers have shown dedication to targeting wanted high harm offenders by bringing them to justice as well as safeguarding vulnerable victims.

“We are alive to the fact that we need to build public confidence, especially around the reporting of violence against women and girls. We need victims to come forward and be heard and supported so that police can remove violent offenders from our streets.

“We will continue to listen and support survivors and ensure that any crime will be investigated fully. It is our top priory to make sure people, especially women and girls feel safe on the streets and in their homes.

“We want to reassure and encourage those survivors of domestic abuse, rape or serious sexual assaults, whether they are recent or historical, that you will be listened to and supported, with respect and dignity, and that any crime will be investigated fully.”

Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Crime and Policing, said: “These are strong results from the Met’s Predatory Offender Unit’s first year of operation. The Met is continuing to prioritise improving its response to domestic abuse and sexual violence, and I want to send a clear message to anyone feeling threatened or unsafe: please come forward and report it, you will be listened to and you can have the confidence that the crime will be investigated.”

A bespoke online reporting system was also launched for domestic abuse. To date we have received over 1,500 domestic abuse online reports since going live at the end of June.

To report domestic abuse online visit www.met.police.uk or dial 101. In an emergency dial 999.

Victims and third parties can report domestic abuse to a number of agencies and support services:

The 24/7 National Domestic Abuse helpline, which offers support to victims and people affected by domestic abuse, is free to call on 0808 2000 247.

The Respect Phone-line provides confidential advice and support to help perpetrators stop being violent and abusive, and is free to call 0808 8024040

Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic violence and those supporting them www.mensadviceline.org.uk

Karma Nirvana: 0800 5999 247 Mon to Fri 9am–5pm supporting victims of honour based abuse and forced marriage www.karmanirvana.org.uk

Hour Glass: 0808 808 8141 challenging the abuse of older people in all its forms www.wearehourglass.org

Galop LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428 www.galop.org.uk

Childline: 0800 1111 - If you’re a child or young person and domestic abuse is happening in your home or relationship.

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