A message from Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar

Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The South West Borough Commander for the Metropolitan Police has written the following message to the public.

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I wanted to write and brief you about some police activity taking place in our local area (and the rest of London).

As you are aware, during the lockdown period, we have been continuing our focus on reducing violence in the capital together with our Local Authority partners through the community safety partnerships. As we start looking towards a relaxation or removal of lockdown in due course, we want to maintain the reductions in violent crime, building upon the natural pause in offending realised due to the COVID restrictions.

As part of our ongoing offender management work, we are planning to visit a number of people who have been linked to violence in our communities. The purpose of these visits is to give individuals the opportunity to consider how to change their behaviour and to avoid being in situations that may be violent. They will be offered a range of diversion opportunities tailored to their needs - we are working with our Local Authority partners and the Violence Reduction Unit on these diversion options. The purpose of the visit will be to engage and encourage the individual to find a new path.

You will also see additional patrols or activity in certain locations. The locations represent places where violence and robberies have been concentrated during the last 12 weeks. Officers will be conducting additional policing activity over a 3 week period at these locations, which may include weapons sweeps or knife search operations, as well as community engagement activity. We are developing how we will resource these visits, whilst still maintaining Neighbourhood policing patrols across the boroughs, and we will share these plans with the Heads of Community Safety as we progress them.

We are also progressing our safeguarding plans which will focus on six areas where we anticipate an increase in risk and/or demand: domestic abuse, online child sexual abuse, intra-familial child abuse, missing persons, mental health and county lines. Again as you would expect we are working closely with our council partners in all these areas.

Following the PM’s announcement yesterday, we are reviewing the impact for the Met. As restrictions and regulations change so will the role of the police. There is currently no change to the health protection legislation so operationally our policing approach remains the same at present. Officers will be on their usual patrols, talking to people, engaging and explaining the current guidance and encouraging people to go home. We will be looking at the revised government guidance in detail over the coming days. When changes to the legislation are made, we will then issue updated information on any impact this will have for policing and for our ways of working.