Spotlight brightens town centre: police crack down on antisocial behaviour

PUBLISHED: 12:35 17 February 2016 | UPDATED: 13:12 17 February 2016

Ch Insp John Fish was delighted by the results of Operation Spotlight. Credit: Redbridge Police

Ch Insp John Fish was delighted by the results of Operation Spotlight. Credit: Redbridge Police

Redbridge Police

A police operation targeting criminal activity around Ilford station has been declared a success, with the number of robberies falling by a third.

Operation Spotlight was put into action after routine canvassing of public opinion in the town centre revealed concerns about offences being committed in the area such as drug taking and other anti-social behaviour.

The six-week operation saw constables and a specialist officer from the Territorial Support Group crack down on anti-social behaviour around the station during the Christmas period, a time when incidents of shoplifting and other crimes often rise sharply.

Speaking to the Recorder, Sgt Lucky Singh said: “What we didn’t want to happen was a massive crime spike and the public’s confidence in us to suffer as a result.”

The operation utilised a number of tactics such as intelligence-led stop and searches and covert policing.

Over the six-week period, there were 77 arrests, as well as a 17 per cent reduction in assault with injury incidents and a 33pc fall in robberies.

A survey carried out in the town centre after the operation showed a 12pc rise in public confidence in the police, compared to previous results.

Ch Insp John Fish was full of praise for the operation.

He said: “The training that has come from the operation has really brought the most current and most effective policing techniques to Redbridge.

“We policed in a way that wouldn’t normally be seen in the borough and it’s been massively successful.”

The inspector hopes the police will be able to keep the momentum of Operation Spotlight going.

He said: “I think we all got a little bit complacent and forgot that to keep Ilford as our town, we all need to pull together to keep it a safe place for everyone.”

From mid-March, a team of eight constables and a sergeant will be assigned to the town centre to maintain the operation’s success.

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