New chief targets burglars and gets 'back to basics'

MEET the new police chief for Barking and Dagenham, Matt Bell, who promises a back to basics approach to policing in the borough. He has barely been Borough Commander for two weeks, but already Chief Supt Bell is cracking down on crime. Burglaries are

MEET the new police chief for Barking and Dagenham, Matt Bell, who promises a "back to basics" approach to policing in the borough.

He has barely been Borough Commander for two weeks, but already Chief Supt Bell is cracking down on crime.

Burglaries are on the rise in the borough, as they are in the rest of the country, as criminals mainly target cars and break into homes to snatch car keys.

Earlier this month, Operation Ice Pick, which involved officers from forces in Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Havering and Essex, smashed a ring of car thieves and arrested several wanted men.


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Mr Bell said: "Burglary is a real priority for us at the moment.

"And burglaries where car keys are taken and cars stolen are causing a direct rise in numbers.

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"It is very hard to steal a car, especially a new car, without the keys.

"People must look after their keys, do not leave them by the front door.

"Some of the cars are recovered locally, but some are never recovered. In some cases the car thieves are highly organised."

After serving as Deputy Commander in Bromley, south London, Mr Bell accepted the top job here earlier this month.

He started life as a police officer in 1985 in Southwark and worked around south London for several years before taking a post in territorial policing under the now Deputy Commissioner, Tim Goodwin.

There, Mr Bell was instrumental in one of the greatest changes ever to happen to community policing - the introduction of safer neighbourhood teams.

"It was great to be there when it all started", he said.

"Then, I went back to Bromley as a Chief Inspector to start implanting the teams in practice.

"It has really revolutionised policing and the way that the public view the police."

Mr Bell intends to bring a "back to basics" approach to policing in the borough by maximising officers' presence on the streets and ensuring that all police officers wear their uniforms with pride.

He said: "I think over the years we have lost a little of that basic approach to policing.

"I want people to be more confident in our ability to keep them safe and I want our officers to be approachable.

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