Brent’s top cop talks about stop and search in the borough

Matt Gardner, Brent Police Borough Commander

Matt Gardner, Brent Police Borough Commander - Credit: Archant

This week I am going to update you about what we have been doing in stop and search.

This is because there is a Government consultation which closes soon.

Stop and search is a very important tool for the Police and one we must be very careful with. We use it extremely successfully at Brent to prevent and detect crime.

The outcome rate for stop and search across the UK is at about 9 per cent. The Metropolitan Police outcome rate is 21 per cent but in Brent it is 31 per cent.

Stop and search with proactive search warrants targeting gangs and the proceeds of crime has driven some great crime reductions over the last two years. We have delivered additional stop and search training with mentoring programs, tradecraft training for new constables and focused on quality not quantity. We have consistently reduced search volumes and raised outcome rates. We are now much more selective and successful in the use of this power. This is good news.

Robbery in Brent is down 32 per cent. Violent crime is down 5.3 per cent. Stop and search plays a big part in delivering these reductions in three principal ways. Police officers empowered to conduct stop and search puts the fear of being caught in the mind of robbers. This prevents offences taking place. Secondly stop and search catches robbers before the offence finding weapons or drugs in their possession. This disrupts their criminality. Thirdly, and most obviously, it catches suspects with stolen goods in their possession.

These successes are however just one side of the story. For every three times out of ten we find what we are looking for there are seven times we do not. Through intelligence led briefings we seek to stop the right people, (known robbers and burglars), in the right places, (crime hot spots), at the right time for the offence profile, but this will not always be the case. Offenders slip through the net. Sometimes we stop the wrong people and environment in which we operate constantly changes. This can be readily seen from three separate stories in this paper last week about stolen watches, complaints and Khat. The important link for me here is that we are proactive, constantly seeking to learn and improve and are looking forward.

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Twenty-one Rolex watches, believed to be stolen, were recovered in a search warrant. They made their way up the supply chain some distance before we eventually caught up with them. Our local independent stop and search scrutiny group were calling for people to come forward to let us know when we get it wrong.

Complaints are very important as they help us improve. Khat (a stimulant mostly used by the Somali community) is to be banned. There will be issues of significant community impact we will need to address with partners in this virgin territory but we are starting this work now.

The Home Secretary’s consultation closes soon so there and there is still time to have your say to Government (Stopandsearch@homeoffice.gov.uk ). Please use this important opportunity to have your say.

As ever, if you have any information on crime matters, tell us and we will act. You can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, dial 101 to speak to police, or contact your local SNT via the MPS website www.met.police.co.uk. In an emergency, always call 999. For daily updates and information about what is happening in Brent, you can follow us on Twitter at @MPSBrent. A

ny suspicious activity can be reported anonymously and confidentially to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. No piece of information is too small, no genuine call is a waste of time. Don’t rely on others: if you suspect it, report it.

Thank you for your continued support.

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