THIS week I would like to update you on three things; our success at catching and charging burglars; how we have used a Taser over the last 10 weeks; and reaction on the recent killing in Woolwich of soldier Lee Rigby.
Firstly, burglary: I would like to highlight some excellent work that officers from my local crime squad have done to target an organised gang involved in burglaries in Brent and north west London and to bring them before the courts.
On Tuesday last week we executed a number of warrants where seven people were arrested, interviewed and charged with conspiracy to commit domestic burglary.
Operations of this sort take a considerable amount of time and hard work, but thanks to the dedication of our officers we are disrupting criminal gangs involved in serious crimes such as robbery and burglary, which is helping us to drive down crime levels within Brent.
Secondly, the Taser: This is a weapon that discharges an electric barb that incapacitates violent or potentially violent people. This sounds drastic, but when challenged by someone carrying a knife for example, it is a less lethal option than using a real firearm.
Tasers have been made more available to emergency response officers across London – the very officers that respond to every type of emergency call that you make in your moment of need. We need to best equip our officers to deal with any given situation. Tasers are such a tool and my officers use it with absolute respect.
Since Tasers were introduced for local officers on March 25 and on each occasion it has been used, the suspect concerned was successfully detained with no serious injury. Tasers have been used for threats of violence by people against you, the public, or my officers, where other tactical options available were deemed to be less appropriate by the officers involved.
There have been no complaints about its use in Brent and the only injury sustained was of a minor, secondary nature, where the suspect involved fell over and banged his head on a table nearby. He was taken to hospital, where he was declared as fit to be returned into police detention at the police station.
There are 33 officers in Brent trained to use a Taser, each of whom must undergo a rigorous training course before being approved to carry and use the device.
Each trained user must justify all activations. In addition, a supervisor attends each firing and investigates the circumstance surrounding its use.
There are typically four officers deployed with Tasers at any time on a response team in Brent.
We classify Tasers as being used in several ways, from simply being ‘drawn’ from a holster, to being discharged.
After 10 weeks it has been used 18 times. Here is a detailed breakdown:
* It has been drawn but hidden out of sight six times.
* Drawn and shown to the suspect with loud verbal commands three times.
* It has been drawn with the laser and torch turned on (red dotted like in the films) but not activated, with loud verbal commands six times.
* Drawn, fired and hit the intended suspect three times, but failed for various reasons (either the suspect has managed to pull the probe out, or the probe has not penetrated the clothing enough/one of the probes has missed).
* It has been drawn, fired and hit the intended suspect successfully on one occasion.
It is notable that in the vast majority of incidents the officers have been able to bring situations to a successful conclusion by using the range of options which precede the need to actually fire the Taser.
Since the appalling incident in Woolwich on May 22, I have been greatly encouraged by the reaction of local communities and their leaders and by the absence of any significant repercussions within Brent.
On Friday, May 31, there was a community engagement event held at the Town Hall. About 150 people attended including the Mayor of Brent, local MP’s, councillor Aslam Choudry, Brent Council’s portfolio holder for community safety, and Chief Inspector Andy Jones from Brent Police Leadership Team.
Prayers and condolences were offered to Lee Rigby’s family, and condemnation of the actions that took place.
The message from communities within Brent was clear – that the acts were not committed in the name of any faith and that they wouldn’t divide our community.
Call us on Crimestoppers (0800 555 111), 101, or your local Safer Neighbourhood Team Teams accessed via the Met Police Website (www.met.police.co.uk). In an emergency, call 999.
For daily updates follow us on Twitter at @MPSBrent.