Police keeping focus on violent crime after man stabbed to death in Ilford

Redbridge police are focused on violent crime and are “reaping rewards”, according to one of its most senior officers.

Following the death on Saturday of Thomas Cudjoe in Ley Street, Ilford, and the stabbing of a 17-year-old boy in Henley Road, Ilford, on October 24, Supt Zander Gibson, the acting borough commander while Det Ch Supt Sue Williams is on holiday, was unable to discuss ongoing cases with the Recorder.

But he said knife crime is down 18 per cent year on year. He also pointed to an almost two per cent drop in violence in the same period and said it had been partly down to the “strategic” use of stop and search powers.

He said: “Where we’re targeting people it’s more intelligence-led, in areas that are more likely to reap rewards.

“Our positive results for stop and search were 19 per cent [in September] – that’s where we find something that leads to an arrest.”

He added: “It improves relationships with people we’re stopping if there’s less searches going on where we don’t find anything.”

Redbridge police have “significantly reduced” their use of section 60 powers, which allow them to search any people in a defined area if they suspect there is a possibility of serious violence.

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He singled out a number of measures being taken to deal with youth violence, including having a dedicated detective inspector responsible for serious youth violence and a youth engagement sergeant who works with schools to prevent knife crime.

He said: “We do have groups of young people that undertake criminal behaviour. Those in Redbridge are not undertaking the scale of violence in other boroughs not far away.

“We don’t have some explicit gang issues but I realise some parts of the community are concerned about gangs hanging around on street corners and undertaking criminal activity.

“We are mindful of that.”