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Metropolitan Police to put hundreds more officers onto streets

Metropolitan Police to put hundreds more officers and ‘bobbies on the beat’ onto London’s streets in a bid to make women and girls feel safer in wake of murder of Sarah Everard

  • An additional 650 police officers will be put in place across London’s streets
  • 150 officers to join dedicated ward officers – known as ‘bobbies on the beat’
  • Move part of drive to cut domestic abuse and violence against women and girls

The Metropolitan Police has announced it will put hundreds of extra officers on the streets of London over the next six months in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.

An additional 650 officers will be put in place across the capital, with 500 officers being based permanently in busy neighbourhoods, the force confirmed.

A further 150 staff will join London’s dedicated ward officers, also known as ‘bobbies on the beat’, who are police officers based in communities and who work with Londoners to problem solve local issues.

The move, which is part of a drive to cut violence against women and girls, comes after policeman Wayne Couzens, 48, murdered Sarah Everard, 33, after kidnapping her as she walked along a street in Clapham last year.

It also comes just weeks after primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, 28, was killed as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, on her way to meet a friend on September 17. 

Hundreds of extra officers will be put on the streets of London over the next six months, the Metropolitan Police have said

It comes after Sarah Everard, 33, was murdered by policeman Wayne Couzens, 48, in London last year

The town centre teams will be made up of one inspector, two sergeants and 21 police constables.

The list of London boroughs that will see an increase in officers

Westminster

Barking and Dagenham, Barking

Ilford in Redbridge

Croydon

Bromley

Lewisham

Woolwich in Greenwich

Brixton in Lambeth

Uxbridge in Hillingdon

Hounslow 

Camden and Euston

Wood Green in Haringey

Enfield

Kingston Upon Thames

Hackney

Brent, Wembley and Harlesden

Newham 

Once in place, the local police leaders will be able to increase the size of their teams if needed.

The first tranche of officers will be in place by late 2021 and all 19 teams are expected to be in place by spring 2022.

They will be located in boroughs and towns across London, from Hounslow, west London, to Barking and Dagenham, east London.

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said: ‘Our growth enables us to increase our presence in busy neighbourhoods and town centres and be even more focused on protecting people and solving the long-term crime and anti-social behaviour issues we know people care about most – like violent crime, and violence and harassment committed against women and girls.

‘Local policing is at the heart of everything we do and we know that we are so much more effective if we are in communities and neighbourhoods, working side-by-side with all Londoners, listening and engaging with them, tackling the issues that make them feel unsafe.

‘We want communities to regularly see and get to know their local officers, so that they trust and have confidence in them, knowing they are there to protect and keep them safe.’

The London Borough of Westminster is one of three boroughs where extraordinary demand means there will be an enhanced or additional town centre team.

The boroughs of Camden and Brent will have two teams whilst the West End will have a single but bigger team.

Ilford in Redbridge, Bromley and Lewisham will also see increased police presence. 

Following the move, some social media users thanked the Met for boosting the number of officers while others said 800 officers for London was ‘not enough’.

On Monday, Met Police chief Dame Cressida Dick announced she had called in an independent reviewer to look at the force’s culture and standards following Couzens’ whole life sentencing last week.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed a total of 800 officers would be added to London’s streets

Following the move, some social media users thanked the Met while others said 800 officers for London was ‘not enough’

Dame Cressida plans to announce who will undertake the review, expected to take at least six months, in about a week’s time.

In an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said the ‘anger over Sarah Everard’s murder was a symptom’ of a ‘wider frustration that people feel’.

What are ‘bobbies on the beat’?

The Metropolitan Police have  dedicated ward officers – who are commonly referred to as ‘bobbies on the beat – who work locally in every ward across the London boroughs.

The police officers patrol local areas, meet with residents and businesses and also try to come up with solutions to tackle crime in the local area.

They are based in communities and work with Londoners to drive down crime.

Like all officers, their individual performance is monitored through their performance and the completion of annual training.   

He added that making streets safer was part of making women and girls feel more safe.

He told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We are putting (in) more CCTV, better street lighting. 

‘But what you’ve got to do is address the underlying frustration of millions of women, and millions of people across the country, at the slowness of the criminal justice system and the inadequacy of the justice system in dealing with crimes of rape and domestic violence and sexual violence.’

And the UK crime and policing minister, Kit Malthouse, told Sky News he accepted there was a problem with violence against women in the UK and said the reason for a fall in rape convictions was ‘complicated’.

He added: ‘We are very focused on this issue and we’ve pledged to try and drive these numbers up, to try to restore that institutional confidence and people coming forward.

‘The confidence of people coming forward to report that crime has increased very significantly over the last four or five years.

Last month a court heard how policeman Wayne Couzens used Covid laws to stop, handcuff and stage the fake arrest of Sarah Everard before strangling her.

Couzens cuffed the 33-year-old marketing executive’s hands behind her back, leaving her incapable of undoing the seatbelt he strapped around her after ordering her into the back of his rental car.

He then raped and murdered her before burning her body in a pre-meditated attack.

The court heard in chilling evidence how earlier in the night, the killer had spent two hours driving through central and south London – prowling Kensington, Lavender Hill and Earls Court for a lone young woman to abduct.   

In September, 36-year-old Koci Selamaj, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was charged with the murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, 28. 

Ms Nessa was killed as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, on her way to meet a friend on September 17.

Her body was found nearly 24 hours later covered with leaves near a community centre in the park. 

It is claimed her attacker used a 2ft long weapon to strike her repeatedly before carrying her away unconscious.    

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