CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Tory accuses police of ‘victim blaming’ after residents told not to use phone while walking

But Mayor says police unit is making Camden “hostile territory” for moped snatchers

10 August, 2017 — By William McLennan

Police said it is “no longer safe to walk with your mobile phone on display”

A CONSERVATIVE election candidate has accused police of “victim blaming” after residents were told they were making themselves easy targets for moped snatches.

Steve Adams, an architect who lives in Gospel Oak, received a circular email from police warning the public: “There appears to be a rugged refusal to accept that it is no longer safe to walk in London with your mobile phone on display.”

The email added: “If the opportunity wasn’t there, then the crime wouldn’t get committed.”

Mr Adams, who will stand in Belsize ward at next May’s council elections, said he believed the Met’s “traditional role of arresting violent robbers and sending them down has been dropped to avoid the cost of investigations”.

He had been disturbed by police response to a series of moped snatches in Gospel Oak at the end of last month.

In a letter to the New Journal this week, he said: “Have we become the wild west, have the Met given up with the prosecution of criminals and are they only in the business of advising the law-abiding public about how to avoid inevitable crime?”

In contrast, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan this week said that police were carrying out exhaustive operations in Camden to “make the streets hostile territory for criminals”.

Responding to Mr Adams’ letter, Acting Detective Chief Inspector Christina Jessah said “there is a strong evidence base” that crime prevention is more effective than “enforcement- based solutions”.

Pointing to Operation Attrition, a taskforce in Camden and Islington that patrols hot-spots and monitors suspects, ADCI Jessah said: “It is led by an experienced detective inspector and has a number of highly-skilled officers, detectives and uniformed officers who utilise a range of tactics, both overt and covert, in order to gather intelligence, arrest and prosecute those engaged in this activity, and those in the tier of organised criminality that is sitting above them.

“As of two weeks ago, eight or our current top 12 offenders were in prison. It is an intelligence-led proactive unit, whose primary role is enforcement.”

A spokesman for Mr Khan said: “Police are deploying dedicated ground operations, building intelligence on offenders, and using prevention work to make the streets hostile territory for criminals who use mopeds, motorbikes and bicycles for robberies and violence.”

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