Barking and Dagenham police chief thanks residents in New Year message

THE BOROUGH’S police chief has praised Barking and Dagenham residents for the role they have played in catching criminals.

In a New Year message, borough commander Matt Bell said he was proud to officially commend the many individuals who had “stood up for fellow citizens targeted by criminals” in 2010.

He spoke of one incident where two men intervened when a couple of pickpockets were trying to steal a wallet from a pensioner.

“Police arrived and arrested the people concerned, but without the immediate actions of those fellow citizens they would probably have got away before he could raise the alarm.”

“One of the great things about this part of East London is the community spirit that binds people together and I would urge you all to continue to look out for each other,” he added.

Commander Bell said his team of police and community support officers had been “very busy” over the past 12 months.

“From January to December 2010 my officers responded to over 78,000 calls for help from the public, with over 12,000 of them being emergencies.”

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“In this same period more than 23,000 allegations of crime were made of which around 19,800 resulted in a crime report and further investigation.”

Officers arrested more than 7,000 people and stopped and spoke with almost 23,000 individuals of whom nearly 8000 were searched, he said.

Chief Supt Bell said the new decade – including the 2012 Olympics - would “undoubtedly bring new challenges”. But a new state-of-the-art police patrol base, opening on Barking’s Freshwharf Estate in the early part of next year, would “greatly improve the working environment for officers and as a result the service we provide to you in the coming years.”

With policing cuts looming Chief Supt Bell, who took on the role of Borough Commander 18 months ago, said he would do everything in his power to make sure police services would not be affected.

“Emergency calls will continue to be dealt with in the same time frame and, despite everything else which comes our way, you remain our highest priority,” he said.

To conclude his New Year message the commander thanked his team of officers and staff for “working tirelessly to keep Barking and Dagenham safe.”