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Police widen street patrols to stop robberies of East End schoolchildren

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 March 2020

Police carrying out weapons sweep close to Langdon Park School in Poplar, Picture: Kois Miah

Police carrying out weapons sweep close to Langdon Park School in Poplar, Picture: Kois Miah

Kois Miah

A police operation has been extended aimed at cracking down on robberies of schoolchildren in the East End.

Cllr Asma Begum watches as police search through bushes in park close to Langdon Park School. Picture: Kois MiahCllr Asma Begum watches as police search through bushes in park close to Langdon Park School. Picture: Kois Miah

Officers from the Met’s Central East unit have been joined by Tower Hamlets council enforcement officers to carry out high visibility patrols and weapons sweeps.

The latest phase of the operation that began in January was in the streets around Poplar’s Langdon Park Secondary school.

The operation is said to be a “new approach” to tackling street crime being targeted at schoolchildren and teenagers, which began as a daily undertaking for police during term-time after the Christmas break.

It has led to a 12 per cent reduction in “home time” robberies against youngsters aged eight to 18 that had been taking place between 3pm and 7pm and a 38pc drop between 3pm and 5pm in incidents compared to January 2019.

Deputy mayor Asma Begum with police during street patrols in Poplar to protect schoolchildren from street robberies taking place at home time. Picture: Kois MiahDeputy mayor Asma Begum with police during street patrols in Poplar to protect schoolchildren from street robberies taking place at home time. Picture: Kois Miah

“Such a decline in robberies is encouraging,” Police Supt Martin Rolston said. “Schoolchildren’s safety is priority, so we are continuing the weekly patrols throughout March, with the support of local council enforcement officers.”

Police patrols have so far made 48 ‘stop and search’ orders and carried out 17 weapon sweeps.

The operation has so far led to two arrests and 17 anti-social behaviour orders being issued against perpetrators and is now extended across Tower Hamlets to cover all schools and colleges until the end of the month.

The operation involving the local education authority was timed to coincide with school home time on transport routes where most street robberies have taken place.

Deputy mayor Asma Begum warned: “There is an increase in children being victims of robbery, so we are working with police to support enforcement operations.

“We are targeting those involved in crime and disorder. Crime and anti-social behaviour are the main concern of residents.”

The number of robberies against schoolchildren has reduced by more than a third since the high-visibility street patrols began, compared to this time last year, crime statistics reveal.

The operation began in January, aimed at reducing robberies targeting schoolchildren which typically peak after Christmas.

But it also includes visits to schools, where children are taught about staying safe on their route to and from school.


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