Brent’s top cop tackles the theft of gold in the borough

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. Today he speaks about the seasonal rise in the theft of gold

This week my officers have continued to focus activities on criminals who target the community in a range of ways.

My officers have been engaged in Operation Nugget which aims to stem the seasonal rise in theft of gold offences across the borough.

Over the next few weeks, Brent’s Asian communities will start making preparations for popular festivals such as Diwali and Navratri.

These festivals typically involve families across London, and beyond, coming together to celebrate which means more gold and jewellery is worn resulting in items becoming more accessible in the home and out on the street, leading to an increase in gold-related burglaries and robberies.

In recent years, thefts from homes have increased between October and January, leaving many families’ celebrations ruined with treasured items, often handed down through generations, being taken away forever.

We will utilise SmartWater traceable liquids, which can be detected under ultra violet (UV) light, to mark valuables.

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Therefore, if marked items are stolen and later recovered by police, the original owner can be traced.

We will use UV lamps during the execution of search warrants and examination of prisoner property, as well as setting up visits to pawn-brokers and second hand traders across Brent to increase the search for stolen marked items.

We are running events at various temples and religious institutions as well as working with our Safer Transport Team to engage communities on buses and transport routes.

We are distributing leaflets and crime prevention packs that will brief residents and visitors on how to minimise the risk of becoming a victim of crime in this season of celebration.

Please take sensible precautions with your valuables and ensure your celebrations are ones to remember and not forget.

The membership of gangs by criminals remains a focus, with Operation Osvaldo delivering over 36 arrests, three search warrants and five other referrals to court in the last four weeks. Added to this is the behind the scenes work by Brent Police Anti Social Behaviour Team in partnership with Brent Council Integrated Community Safety Unit to impose judicial restrictions on criminal gang members - including imprisonment, ASBOs, gang injunctions, enhanced license conditions and, most recently, the granting of eviction notices.

Other significant activity includes the arrest and charge of a prolific burglar who was chased by officers in the north Wembley area, after being suspected of being involved in motor vehicle theft. Upon arrest, the male was identified as being wanted for a burglary and subsequently he admitted to committing over 25 other burglary offences.

We will continue to employ every tactic at every opportunity to target criminals in the community.

On a lighter note, on September 22, the Safer Neighbourhoods base on Kingsbury Trading Estate opened its doors as part of an MPS-wide event to open its police stations to the public on a grand scale.

During the event, members of the public were given a rare and behind-the-scenes glimpse at what goes on inside a police station and were able to see some of the specialist units, equipment and resources that the MPS has at its disposal.

The event was designed to be fun but informative for all the family and I hope that those who attended enjoyed themselves and experienced some of the unique activities that were laid on especially for them.

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 Neighbourhood Policing Team via the MPS website

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.

Any 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.