The fight to curb burglaries in Brent by the borough’s top cop

Chief Superintendent Mick Gallagher Brent's borough commander

Chief Superintendent Mick Gallagher Brent's borough commander - Credit: Archant

This week I thought I would start by telling you about the work of the Brent partnership Task Force led by Det Sgt Maddie Ryder.

DCI Steve Burns

DCI Steve Burns - Credit: Archant

Thanks to a Brent Council funded initiative aiming to cut burglaries, to date 4,000 Brent residents have received a free anti-theft kit.

The property marking kits contain an invisible marking solution that can be painted on property and leaves an indelible mark which glows only under UV light. Anything marked with this traceable liquid can be linked back to its owner if stolen.

You will have heard how we started doing this in the Harlesden area, which resulted in reducing burglary by 80 per cent and street robbery by 40 per cent.

We have invested in training police officers and PCSOs so we can continue to deliver the kits, through the council funded partnership Task Force.


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A total of 1,600 residents have already signed up to receive the kits, which also include stickers to warn potential thieves that they are using the liquid.

The area we are targeting now is Kensal Green where, since the distribution of the kits, burglary has dropped by 50 per cent and street robbery by 20 per cent compared to last year.

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As well as helping police track stolen goods, the kits can also be deployed as a spray system to mark the skin and clothing of offenders in order to link them with a specific crime scene.

This technology is currently being used within ‘Trap Houses’ and ‘Trap Cars’ across Brent and has already resulted in several convictions. We ensure that every prisoner who comes into our cells whatever the offence goes through a UV lights so any trace of the liquid can be seen. My Police Officers and Crime Scene Investigators now carry UV torches so when they stop people or examine a crime scene they can check for a trace. UV torches have also been supplied to all pawnbrokers and second hand outlets in Brent to assist shop owners in identifying whether any items offered to them are potentially stolen.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge the efforts of one of my senior managers Det Ch Insp Steve Burns. Steve retires after 27 years in the MPS. He has had two spells at Brent and has been a key figure in us achieving our crime reductions.

Steve has led on investigations into burglary, robbery and vehicle crime and is acknowledged to be an outstanding detective. His commitment, effort and energy which he drives through his team of Detectives has been key to us bringing offenders to justice.

One of his proudest moments was receiving the Queens Police Medal but he is a humble man to speak to spending more time talking about his daughter who is a probationary Constable in Camden. Policing clearly runs in the family.

Thank you Steve and good luck.

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