Last night I attended a community meeting with senior police officers, local councillors and Jas Athwal - Leader of Redbridge Council.
First of all some good news. Many of us have been worried by reports of aggravated (i.e. violent) burglaries. The Police had some good news on that front: arrests have been made and that type of burglary has stopped.
Since January 1st, over 130 arrests have been made, the top four targets are behind bars and the number of burglaries in our community have dropped significantly.
Of course, there is no room for complacency. The Police issued the following advice:
- Make sure you double lock your doors.
- Use a Faraday pouch or tin for keyless cars and place steering locks on your steering wheel. This has a big deterrent effect. Ghost immobilisers are more expensive, but effective.
- Alarms are effective, especially zoned alarms where you can put an alarm on downstairs during the night.
- Police treat attempts to open doors at night as attempted burglaries, so where you see this, please report them.
- Sharing CCTV footage on Whatsapp and social media can prejudice trials, so please don't do that.
- If a crime is happening dial 999. If something has happened and you want to report it, ring 101.
A few other things. We know 101 is a problem. 300 extra operators have been recruited, so hopefully that will help improve the service.
Police are frustrated that residents aren't feeding in intel on drug dealing to the Police. Please do. Don't assume Police know all the drug hot spots or houses where drugs are being dealt. Even if they do, your intel will be useful.
Finally, we know many of those involved are young offenders being treated too leniently by the courts. I will be taking up this issue in Parliament. It's a shame the Justice Secretary didn't bother to meet with us when he came to Redbridge recently for a photo op and interview with the local paper. We need tougher sentencing and tariffs.