Harrow has become the safest borough in London.

A proud police borough commander Simon Ovens has congratulated his officers and community volunteers after his target set in June last year that he wanted to take Harrow from seventh to first in the statistical analysis tables for crime backed by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has been realised.

Speaking exclusively to getwestlondon , he said: “I could not be prouder of my officers and their hard work, but I said from day one that we could not do this without the help of the community.

“In almost 30 years of policing in many different boroughs, the most important thing I have learned is working with the community to achieve your goals – you can’t do this job alone and in Harrow I have been blown away by the support.

“I inherited a fantastic operation here from our former borough commander Dal Babu. His community contacts, particularly in the religious communities in Harrow, are a tremendous help so from that perspective we have just sought to build on that work.

Borough Commander Simon Ovens
 

“Everywhere I go, there is a real sense I get from people that they want to help us, they want this borough to be safe, and that’s why we are where we are now.”

The crimes calculated in the data which the achievement is based on: Violence with injury, robbery, theft from person, burglary, theft of motor vehicle, theft from motor vehicle and criminal damage.

Dramatic decreases in both burglary and robbery have been particularly pleasing to the police chief, and there has been an increase in the amount of reported domestic abuse offences, which Mr Ovens welcomes as he believes it shows people have faith in his officers to address the issue.

The police chief revealed the three key steps taken in Harrow becoming the safest borough:

  1. Working with Harrow Council, London Fire Brigade and the HM Revenue and Customs to tackle crime hotspots in regular ‘day of action’ events
  2. A tougher stance on enforcing the law, with police officers in Harrow trebling the number of arrests they each make on average
  3. Using predictive crime analysis tools such as PredPol to decide where to employ officers

When setting the target for himself and his staff, Mr Ovens hoped to achieve the safest borough ranking within three years, but he has done that in nearly half the time, and often with a 20 per cent shortage of staff while he waited for more officers to be recruited.

“Working in that environment was not easy for the staff,” he said. “So many of my officers went above and beyond, cancelling any leave they may have had organised to ensure that we have enough officers able to deliver.

“It came at a detriment to their personal lives, but that is what they’re about. They’re committed and I am very lucky to have them.

“We may now be the safest borough, but there is no time for complacency – not in this job.”

You can read Simon Ovens’ ‘On the beat’ column every Thursday morning on getwestlondon.