Sadiq Khan joins Commander Dr Alison Heydari on patrol targeting hotspots to make communities in London safer
Image by the Metropolitan Police
On Friday, 14 April, Commander Dr Alison Heydari was joined by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on patrol in Westminster to see first-hand how local officers are working with communities to tackle violence.
As part of a renewed focus on neighbourhood policing, they are employing a number of evidenced-based approaches, including problem-oriented policing and hotspot policing to reduce street violence and anti-social behaviour.
Working under the banner of Operation Nightingale, neighbourhood officers are identifying issues that matter most to communities and working with them to solve them.
The operation, supported by City Hall and funded by the Home Office, is co-ordinated centrally by the Met’s Violent Crime Task Force, but activity is owned and delivered locally.
Each ‘Nightingale hotspot’ across London also receives a combination of expert support, funding for area specific problem-solving and additional patrols.
One example is in Church Street ward in Edgware Road, where Commander Heydari and the Mayor visited on the day. The proactive patrols, community input and evidence-based tactics are helping to reduce violence and there have been good results, including arrests and convictions for drug offences.
Vital intelligence has also been collected to help officers better understand crime in the area and improve the day-to-day safety of those that live, study and work in the area.
An in-depth analysis of the findings with a thorough evaluation of all the hotspot activity will be carried out in due course. However, the hyper-local approach – which embraces precise community crime fighting – has resulted in 1,040 arrests across London, with 51 knives, 11 firearms and 40 other offensive weapons recovered since the start of the operation in July 2022.
This approach is just one part of a range of actions by the Met and City Hall to tackle violence and build on the progress made in the last year – where teenage homicides and violence overall has fallen.
Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley and the Mayor of London are said to have committed to strengthening neighbourhood policing and continuing with work to restore and enhance the relationships between local officers and residents to make communities safer. Taking a targeted approach to crime and violence will build a safer London for everyone.
Commander Dr Alison Heydari, Frontline Policing, said, “Strong neighbourhood policing is at the heart of everything we do at the Metropolitan Police Service. We have a duty to not only protect the public but to also provide a visible and effective police presence in communities, which is critical to delivering more trust and less crime across London.
“Our plan to build the Strongest Ever Neighbourhood Policing will mean working collaboratively right across the Met using all the resources at our disposal to crack down on crime and protect the public. As part of this plan, we have already announced the appointment of a new Superintendent tasked with commanding local policing in each one of London’s boroughs.
“We are rolling out the latest thinking and tactics – such as this Operation Nightingale – to tackle anti-social behaviour, neighbourhood crime and violent crime. This work, alongside traditional police activity, will mean we are relentless in fighting crime in every neighbourhood and local area, with the help of experts and partners.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said, “Nothing is more important to me than keeping Londoners safe and I’m determined to work closely with the Met to build on the significant reductions in violence, murders and robberies we have seen in our city over the past year. This is needed now more than ever as the impact of the cost-of-living crisis threatens to jeopardise the progress being made.
“London’s communities are the eyes and ears of the police and their relationship with our local neighbourhood officers is absolutely pivotal to tackling violence, anti-social behaviour and keeping our communities safe.
“We’ve seen that in action today with communities flagging issues to police, and officers adapting patrols and specialist resources to target issues like gang crime and violence impacting neighbourhoods and securing positive long-term solutions. This is the way forward and I’ll do everything possible in the months ahead to ensure the Met continue to put Londoners first and restore the bond of trust so crucial to policing by consent as we work together to build a safer London for everyone.”
Councillor Aicha Less, Westminster Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Protection, said, “As a Church Street resident, I know only too well the devastating impact that violence can have on our local communities, so it’s vital that there is full trust and confidence in our local police force. That starts with getting the basics of policing right, and I’m pleased to see how proactive patrols, community input, and evidence-based tactics at the heart of Operation Nightingale are enabling neighbourhood police officers to reduce violence, make more arrests and create a safer neighbourhood for us all.”