Friday 29 January 2016

It's all about crime...... isn't it?

When most people think about the working day of a police officer they picture car chases, catching the crook and locking them up. But there is a lot more to it than that!

The "Road Wars" side of the job does exist. But it makes up less than 10% of your time. The rest is filled with paperwork, procedure and dealing with many things the public may be surprised with

From missing people, anti social behaviour and traffic accidents, the amount of time a police officer actively spends "fighting crime" is minimal

A former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Richard Mayne, said way back in 1829 that "The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime. The next that of the detection and punishment of offenders if a crime is committed" Some 187 years down the line, this ethos remains a key part of modern policing

As a neighbourhood police officer for almost 9 years, my main objective is to stop a crime happening in the first place. Through educating residents in crime prevention, working with the local council to change the layouts of known hotspots and patrolling areas at key times, the aim of the game is to stay one step ahead of the criminals. Let me explain a couple of the methods we use to try and achieve this

Environmental Visual Audit

An EVA is a process we use to understand why a certain road or area keeps being targeted by offenders. It could be a residential street has been the venue for 6 burglaries in a week. As the local neighbourhood team, we will take a look around and see if we can see why the offenders keep coming back. 

Is there adequate street lighting? Do the houses have easy access to the rear? Are there overgrown hedges which obscure the view from the main road? These are just a few of the questions we ask. During this EVA we will work closely with the local council to see if there are any immediate changes which can be made. Be that fixing the street lighting which every evening sees half the street engulfed by darkness or advising residents that they need to secure their side fences correctly to stop would be burglars gaining access to the rear of their properties

Broken Windows Theory

An EVA is also a useful tool to use when trying to tackle anti social behaviour. If we note a large amount of graffiti, rubbish, fly tipping etc, we will work with the local authority to clear this up. Working to the Broken Windows Theory an area which appears uncared for can attract anti social behaviour and, in turn, see an increase in crime

James Wilson and George Kelling first introduced the broken windows theory in an article titled Broken Windows, in the March 1982 The Atlantic Monthly. The title comes from the following example

"Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Or consider a pavement. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of refuse from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars"

Although it has it cynics, I am a firm believer in this type of criminology and have utilised it on numerous occasions during my 9 years as a neighbourhood officer. From assisting with cleaning rubbish in local parks to removing graffiti, I have seen a notable drop in ASB in areas where we have put this theory into practice.

I bet you didn't think that police officers utilised complex criminology!

Monday 11 January 2016

Policing Romfords Nightlife

When most people get ready for a night down Romford, they put on their nicest dress or shirt/jean combo, a pair of shoes and prepare for an evening of drinking, dancing and the 4am Kebab whilst waiting for a bus home. For a police officer, the routine is slightly different

Shirt and trousers, yellow jacket, boots and a hat. Not forgetting the radio, torch, first aid kit, sense of humour and most importantly..... patience

Our 10 hour shift starts at 7pm. Whilst many are still getting ready at home we are in the briefing room, being split into teams and given our specific roles for the evening ahead. Dinner is privilege and those who have done it before make sure they stock up on Redbull and Haribo for that 3am sugar/caffeine intake

The town is covered by extensive council run CCTV and our eyes in the sky are on hand to tell us when and where we are needed

On the local councils website they describe the nightlife in Romford as "the perfect place for a night out, whether you want a quiet pub drink, meal in one of the many restaurants or a dance in one of the nightclubs" and on the whole, this is a fair reflection of Romford on a Friday and Saturday night

As the crowds arrive we watch from afar. A mixture of over 15 bars, pubs and clubs attract 1000's of revellers into the town every weekend. The majority have a great time and go home at the end of the night a little worse for wear...... The small minority who don't are the ones who end their night in our company

But it's not just police officers and CCTV operators who are working to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable evening. We are often joined in the town centre by our colleagues from the Special Constabulary, St John's Ambulance and Street Pastors (people who voluntarily give up their free time on a Friday and Saturday night so others can enjoy theirs)

All integral cogs in a wheel which seamlessly kicks into motion be it someone who has fallen over, someone who becomes ill through too much drink or on lesser occasions to the first two, someone who has been assaulted or has assaulted someone else

This weekend saw us deal with all manner of incidents. Arrests in an environment of alcohol and crowded places are often inevitable. But in comparison to the number of people who arrive, have a great time and then leave, they are insignificant

From helping a female who had been assaulted by her boyfriend (suspect tracked by CCTV and arrested) a male who had fallen down two flights of stairs and cracking his head open (this one verbally abused me, my colleagues, St John's Ambulance and London Ambulance Service who were all trying to help him!) to being shouted at for not helping to find someones jacket which they left in a club. No two nights in Romford are the same. But one constant is the professionalism and dedication of those who work together so everyone else can have a safe and enjoyable evening

So the next time you're out in Romford and you see someone in a yellow jacket who looks cold, tired, annoyed or hungry, be sure to wave or say thank you for being here (a high five or handshake works just as well) because not everyone goes out partying at the weekend. For some it's just another night at the office!

Posted by 

PS Charlie Routley 26KD
Metropolitan Police Service
Havering Borough

Twitter = @MPSHaroldWood

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Harold Wood Ward - End of Year Review 2015

Dear Resident,

I would like to take this opportunity to give you a brief end of year update from Harold Wood Police Team.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter (@MPSHaroldWood) most of this will be old news but, our year in brief. There is so much I have had to leave out but that is simply because the email could be too big to send!

From all of us at Harold Wood Police Team, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2016

We look forward to doing it all over again next year!

Warmest Regards, Sgt Charlie Routley 

January - The year started off with the team’s great work being promoted across the borough on posters. Of the 429 less burglaries reported on the borough, Harold Wood saw a reduction of

almost 50!

February - A busy month saw us dealing with repeated criminal damage at the Long Term Conditions Centre in Harold Wood (damage costing over £10,000 in total).

During which, we located the gap in the fence being used by the suspects and sorted out a DIY fix! (The NHS have since installed a proper metal fence after an email from me highlighting the gap. 

Since this has happened we have had no further incidents reported)

In February I also ran our 2nd #MPSHaveringLive which is a live tweetathon of live 999/101 calls as they happen. 

This is to give you an insight into an average day for officers on our borough. If you haven’t seen any of the tweets then search the hashtag on Twitter (Next one planned for February time. Date TBC) The team also assisted in Op Cubo which targets uninsured drivers. 

During this Op we helped to seize 9 uninsured vehicles off the roads of Havering. We closed down a Cannabis Factory in Harold Hill, arresting the suspect in the process.

March - Started with a joint initiative with Havering Council and Trading Standards called “Protected Streets” which saw the team knock on every door in several roads on the ward and supply the residents with crime prevention advice and items such as Timer switches and Window Alarms. 

A further 8 vehicles were seized during another Op Cubo and we launched our Virtual Ward Panel surveys which allows residents a say in how we police Harold Wood

April - A notable rise in residents reporting discarded Nitrous Oxide canisters around Harold Wood began as the recreational use began to make national headlines. I’m glad to say that this issue appears to have stopped now. 

But the team increased patrols in our parks and open spaces. I ran the London Marathon in aid of Richard House Children's Hospice (Raising over £400 and proving that not all police officers live on a stable diet of Coffee and Donuts!) 

We also came to the aid of a stranded motorist near the A12 who had run out of fuel and assisted with a cross border operation in conjunction with Essex Police targeting criminals using vehicles and crossing the Met/Essex border (M25)

May - The team assisted with policing the general election. Several polling stations in Harold Wood and Harold Hill. 

We also helped with policing the WeRFestival which is held in Upminster while I was drafted in to police an EDL march in Walthamstow

June - A very busy June! The 1st of June was the day I officially became a Sergeant. 

Having “acted up” doing the role for a while. I put on another live tweetathon as #MPSHaveringLive returned. 

With myself and PCSO Steve Lee did our bit to help keep Harold Wood clean by cleaning up the children's play area in Painesbrook Park (which to this day is still graffiti free!) whilst Jade and Siobhan helped the Friends of Harold Wood and Painesbrook Parks with a litter pick.

Following concerns raised from Harold Court School we also continued out patrols outside for parents who park dangerously. 

Siobhan, Louise and Jade assisted with Trooping the Colour in London.

We used the power of Twitter to reunite a lost phone with its owner and I hosted several live showings of the BBC Documentary “The Met” during which I facilitated Q&A sessions

Finally in June we attended Harold Court Primary School Summer Fete during which the kids were able to try on some uniform, have their finger prints taken and I ended up being gunged!

July - July started with another Op Cubo

and 7 vehicles in seized for being driven without insurance. 

We helped an elderly resident who had been scammed out of thousands of pounds. 

Working closely with their family to get the correct support they needed. 

Another scam was doing the rounds which we also informed everyone about via Twitter and email. If it sounds too good to be true….. that’s because it most probably is! 

July ended with us attending the Star Wars Convention held at the Community Hall in Harold Hill. Arranged by a local resident (and ward panel member!) the event was held to raise money for some very worthy local causes. 

Craig tried his best to arrest the suspects but the force wasn’t with him on this occasion. But he did help to bring crime prevention advice to a galaxy far far away

August - We welcomed our new Dedicated
25 July 2015

Ward Officer (DWO) to the team. PC Anthony Kiddle is an award winning Wild Life Crimes officer and took over the mantle of DWO on a full time basis following my promotion to Sergeant. 

The team assisted in closing down a Cannabis factory in Hornchurch and to Police VJ day in London. Anthony hit the ground running by rescuing two stray horses and re homing them

September - The team had some brilliant results with arrests and offenders being charged and taken to court. 

The warm nights meant that we extended our patrols in parks and open spaces to address concerns about anti social behaviour as well as reducing burglaries being reported at dusk. We also began helping in Romford Town Centre on a 5 weekly basis. 

Our first shift down there was an eventful one with several revellers being dispersed under the anti social legislation (to avoid starting trouble) and a colleague was assaulted. Luckily he was ok

October -  During October the team conducted several search warrants during which large amounts of drugs and cash were found. 

Along with the suspects being arrested, Anthony seized and re homed this little guy! 

We welcomed two new members to the team who got stuck straight in with several arrests

The team took part in the inaugural “Mayors Charity Race” over Harold Wood Park where funds were being raised for two local charities and Louise brought in some rather unseasonal cakes! 

November - The team assisted St Peters Church with the Remembrance Sunday Parade along Gubbins Lane. We do this every year and it’s always an honour to be part of the day

November also saw us increase our Burglary patrols at key times along with delivering crime prevention via Twitter, Email, Leaflets and even by Periscope (a live streaming app where we recorded a patrol). 

Storm Barney caused a bit of havoc with trees being felled across the borough and our thoughts were with the friends and families of those effected in the Paris attacks 

December - Our efforts to reduce Burglary continued with further patrols, crime prevention advice and even a video on Vine showing how you can use Christmas lights to avoid becoming a victim of burglary. 

Another live tweetathon was done on the 16th and the bravery of my colleagues during the incident in Leytonstone left me in complete awe and admiration! 

4.15pm and it's dark, so leave a light on,
buy a timer maybe
We conducted a Drink Drive awareness morning operation at Harold Wood train station to highlight the dangers of driving the next morning when still over the limit. 

Tesco at Gallows Corner donated 100 timer switches to us which will be given to the most vulnerable residents in Harold Wood and Harold Hill

All that is left to say is that Harold Wood SNT wish you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2016. 

We are already making plans for early next year to help keep Harold Wood one of the safest places to live in Havering!

All the best

PS Charlie Routley 26KD
Harold Wood Safer Neighbourhoods Team


Sunday 6 December 2015

The next #MPSHaveringLive is on 16 December 2015

What would you like to see from Sgt Charlie Routley on Wednesday 16 December? 

Expect tweets, photos, videos all in as realtime as Sgt Charlie can make them.

Have an idea, tweet it using the hashtag or leave a comment below.

Many thanks..

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Sgt Charlie Routley Burglary Patrols in Harold Wood MPS

This was the first periscope from @MPSHaroldWood London Borough of Havering.

Watch at 00:25 secs when you see Sgt Charlie tweeting me.

While You Were Out ..

Leave a light on when it gets dark ..

and  crimepreventionhomesecurity

Previous #MPSHaveringLive Events and some Press

This post is an archive of what happened in past Events and how that was reported. To see the tweets as they happened, scroll through the twitter widget on the right - the first tweet using the #MPSHaveringLive was made on 19 Nov 2014 (embedded below).

20 Nov 2014 A selection of Calls tweeted (23) of over 330+ total calls.

22 Jan 15 A selection of Calls tweeted (26), including the story that made the press: Dude, where's my car? Police tweet every call they get in 12 hours but first is from someone forgetting where they PARKED (Daily Mail)

19 Feb 2015 A selection of Calls tweeted (36).

16 June 2015 A selection of Calls tweeted (32).

More Press: Live Tweeting Havering Police Make Seven Arrests (Romford Recorder, 17 June 2015).

“Yes police my car’s been sto - oh wait, I just parked it on another street” (London 24, 22 Jan 2015)

Monday 9 November 2015

MPS Havering at YouTube

Four videos so far, on How to describe a suspect and Crime Prevention: Burglary, Bogus Builder and Lift, Lock and Remove