Elm Park shops: local crime ‘summit’

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Elm Park shops: local crime ‘summit’

A meeting took place on Friday 22 March in the Elm Park shopping area to discuss the spate of prolific shoplifting and the plans on how to tackle the problem.  

The meeting was attended by the Police Superintendent for Havering, Elm Park councillors including Council Cabinet member, Barry Mugglestone, the managers of the shops that have suffered, together with Margaret Mullane and Jon Cruddas MP, who had convened the meeting.

The accounts from staff of the shops told of theft, verbal abuse, intimidation and threats of violence from shoplifters. One of the shops said on some days days 10 incidents were reported to the police. All agreed that there has been a large increase in incidents over the last two months. 

It was agreed that the police do a fantastic job in Elm Park but need further resources and that due to staffing issues, the police have to prioritise calls where even greater risk is involved.

Jon Cruddas Labour MP said “It’s not acceptable that the businesses and the residents of Elm Park have to be subject to this.

We agreed a series of actions and measures that we believe will help tackle this criminal activity:
•    The Superintendent and I will be writing to the head office management of the large stores calling for greater security support for their local stores, for example security guard presence and measures such security glass to protect staff.
•    Shops must report all incidents to the police so that the police can be aware of the levels of crime.
•    The police will reinforce their policing of Elm Park by redeployment from another area.
•    There is an aim to bring facial recognition technology by May alongside action weeks targeted at repeat offenders.
•    Setting up a joint WhatsApp group for shops and the police to communicate regarding perpetrators.”

Jon went on to say “The solution to this problem isn’t just about policing, vital as that is, it also requires multi-disciplinary work with local authority, community groups and councilors. I do agree and support the calls from shop staff for more bobbies on the beat as a deterrent.
We also agreed at the meeting to convene a follow up session in 6 to 8 weeks to see if the planned actions have had a positive effect and reduced crime. ”