Town centre police team launches to tackle violent crime
- Credit: LBBD
A new team of 25 police officers has begun work focusing on Barking town centre.
Its introduction is part of a Londonwide initiative by the Met Police to reduce violent crime as well as violence and harassment against women and girls.
When the scheme was announced, a force spokesperson said teams will patrol at times that have the most impact on crime and public safety, such as in the evenings.
It will be made up of one inspector, three sergeants and 21 police constables.
Acting Det Ch Supt Paul Trevers, interim East Area commander, said: “We are increasing our police presence, putting officers where we know the public want to see them most.
"The new Barking team will focus on making this area safer, tackling violent crime including violence against women and girls and dealing with anti-social behaviour.
“We want communities to regularly see and get to know their local officers, so that they have trust and confidence in them.”
Barking and Dagenham Council undertook a survey earlier this year through its Citizen's Alliance Network in which Barking Station, Barking town centre, Station Parade and Heathway in Dagenham were named as hotspots where women reported feeling unsafe.
Cllr Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for community safety, said the authority had been calling for a greater police presence in Barking alongside its own work to reduce antisocial behaviour and crime.
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Measures it has introduced in light of the survey include a rise in enforcement patrols, lighting and CCTV around the borough.
Cllr Mullane said: "Our residents feeling safe when they’re out and about is a top priority for us.
"This increased police presence and partnership work with our enforcement teams will help significantly.”
The council is also planning to introduce its Safe Haven scheme next year, where participating shops, pubs and cafes can offer a safe space to anyone feeling in danger or threatened.
The new town centre police team will be based at Barking Learning Centre, according to its leader Insp Dan Bacon.
"I see this as an opportunity to have a real impact on reducing crime and building public confidence," he said.
"The team will be a regular visible presence around the town centre and we want people to talk to us so we can help resolve their problems and tackle anti-social and criminal behaviour."