Brent’s top cop tackles anti-social and criminal behaviour in licensed premises

Matt Gardner, Brent Police Borough Commander

Matt Gardner, Brent Police Borough Commander - Credit: Archant

Every week Chief Superintendent Matt Gardner, Brent Police borough commander writes a column for the Times. This week he speaks about his efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour.

This week, Brent officers were involved in a London-wide operation targeting anti social and criminal behaviour linked to licensed premises.

Working with the local authority Brent Police have an excellent relationship with our licensed venues which includes not only pubs, but everything from betting shops and off-licences to mini cab offices and fast food outlets.

Licensing related crime affects many of our daily activities - including shops and supermarkets who sell knives or alcohol to young people, pubs and clubs who increase the risk of anti social behaviour and violence by selling alcohol irresponsibly or tolerating illegal drug use, and the road users who put us all at risk by driving unlicensed, unsafe vehicles.

Ensuring that operators take their obligations seriously is therefore part of our daily business. Operations such as the one last weekend reinforce this message.

Whilst we did seize a quantity of illegal alcohol from some premises, and issue several warnings for selling to underage persons, the low incidence of criminal and anti social behaviour overall is testimony to the work of the local authority and responsible business.

In order to tackle anti-social behaviour in the Neasden Lane shopping area, the Dudden Hill Safer Neighbourhoods Team has been working in partnership with the Home Office immigration enforcement. Local residents reported that street drinking had become an issue so we prioritised this for positive action.

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Sergeant Matt Howard who leads the Dudden Hill team has been explaining to me that the operation is part of a long-term initiative to eradicate crime and anti social behaviour in the area through engagement with the local businesses who sell alcohol, and also engaging with the street drinkers themselves. W

e are working with the alcohol dependency outreach workers form the local authority, but we are also sending a clear message that inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated.

One arrest was made for immigration matters and the individual concerned will be deported.

As commodity prices increase, theft of precious metal is a concern for police all across the UK. This week, we received an alert from one of our fixed number plate recognition cameras that a van suspected of being involved in scrap metal theft had passed its location. Officers responded and stopped the van. Enquiries soon revealed that the van was not only uninsured, but that the occupants were involved in theft of scrap in Enfield and a burglary in Brent earlier this year.

Both the occupants were arrested and subsequently charged.

This was an excellent example where the use of CCTV camera technology was pivotal to the capture of these thieves. Not only is number plate recognition a vital modern policing tool, but the ability to track moving vehicles and direct officers to them allows us to stop vehicles safely.

Technology is playing an increasing role in crime fighting, particularly the increased use of property marking solutions.

A street robber was taken into custody at Wembley earlier this week, and routine ultraviolet examination of his clothing showed traces of Smart Water, an odorless and colourless property marking fluid. Enquiries are ongoing with SmartWater to identify the chemical DNA code in the traces, so we can establish where it came from and seek to explain why it is on this person’s clothing.

Continuing in the technology vein, response team officers this week attended a member of the public who had been the victim of a chain snatch. A swab taken from the victim’s neck identified DNA traces from a known offender, who has now been arrested and is currently under investigation for a number of similar offences.

Finally: they say a good police officer is never off duty. Two of my Kilburn Safer Neighbourhoods Officers were socialising in the West End recently when they spotted a known sex offender who was wanted for breaching the conditions of his license.

The officers introduced themselves to the man, arrested him, and walked him to Charing Cross Police Station where he was detained.

A good arrest by the officers, that shows even off duty Brent officers are constantly watching for criminals.