'Criminals are not welcome': Ilford town centre police team launches

The Ilford town centre team launched on February 14

The Ilford town centre team launched on February 14 - Credit: Andrew Baker

Ilford has an extra 25 officers on patrol as part of a dedicated town centre team.

It is being led by Inspector Matthew Ross and also contains three sergeants and 21 police constables.

The team is specifically aimed at tackling violence against women and girls but will also deal with other issues that matter to the community, according to the Met.

Insp Ross told the Recorder that residents should expect increased visibility and engagement from officers.

But the team will also be looking at solving long-term issues in partnership with Redbridge Council and Ilford Business Improvement District, he added.

"You can walk through the street and you will have an effect for a certain period of time but if we actually get some proper partnership work and problem solving, then we can have a long-lasting effect and improve life for everyone who uses the area."

As well as violence against women and girls, these longer-term priorities will also include offences such as robbery, pickpocketing and anti-social behaviour (ASB).

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"That (ASB) can give a wrong impression and could be classed as low-level crime but it can lead on to other offences and can put people off coming to an area."

The Ilford police team was joined by council leader Jas Athwal and Det Ch Supt Stephen Clayman on its first shift

The team was joined by council leader Jas Athwal and Det Ch Supt Stephen Clayman on its first shift - Credit: Andrew Baker

Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick resigned last week after a number of scandals involving the force in recent months.

When asked if the team felt responsibility to rebuild trust in the Met, Insp Ross said: "I think the more people have personal interaction with police officers, they actually make their own minds up.

"I think that's a very important part of what we'll be doing."

The teams have already launched in other parts of London, including one in Barking.

Insp Ross said he has had a number of meetings with Insp Dan Bacon, who is leading the team there, about lessons learnt.

The Ilford team went on its first shift on Monday, February 14 and was joined by council leader Jas Athwal and East Area commander Det Ch Supt Stephen Clayman.

Cllr Athwal said: "Everyone deserves to feel safe on our streets and as a council we are committed to working with our partners in the police to crack down on crime and make our borough safer for local families.

"The extra police officers patrolling our town centre will prevent crime and send a strong message to criminals that they are not welcome in Redbridge.”