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Last Word About Crime On The Tube

25/11/2000, By London Underground Police

Reader Rating: 3 from 24093 votes

British Transport Police is drafting in 40 extra officers to central London to tackle pickpocketing on the Underground, they are taking part in a new phase of Operation Jackdaw and will be helped by improved co-operation with London Underground staff.

The move is in response to a sharp increase in pickpocketing on the Tube, which rose from 5,141, to 10,003 crimes (94.6%) between 1998/99 and 1999/2000. The increase is part of a general London trend – pickpocketing on the streets has risen by almost 30% in the same period – and reverses a five-year downward trend. Pickpocketing is now 55% of all crime reported on the Underground.

‘This new initiative represents a radical refocusing of police resources and a new phase in our partnership with London Underground staff,’ said Detective Superintendent Alan Pacey who heads the operation. The extra officers are being brought in from outer London areas where cover will be maintained through community policing teams and co-operation with the local police. Robbery Unit officers are also being outbased to outer London stations to improve cover.

One factor in the increase in pickpocketing is the increase in people, and so potential victims, using the Tube. Passenger numbers rose by 61 million to 927 million in 1999/2000. Welcoming the BTP’s latest drive against pickpockets, London Underground’s Managing Director, Derek Smith said:

‘The Tube is carrying more people than ever before and unfortunately this has led to an increase in crimes such as pickpocketing. However, London Underground is committed to working with the British Transport Police to tackle this problem and is confident that together we can reduce all crime throughout the system. Our message to criminals operating on the Underground is clear - you will get caught.’

Much of the increase in pickpocketing has been due to an influx of “amateur” pickpockets, but the traditional “professional” pickpockets have also been taking advantage of police being tied up dealing with them.

‘These new pickpockets are less skilled and so are relatively easier to spot,’ explained Alan Pacey. ‘This means that officers have been tied up dealing with these arrests. As many of them are, or claim to be, children and so need an appropriate adult present, and many require interpreters, it can be a very time consuming process.’

By bringing in extra officers, the intention is to spread the expertise built up by specialist pickpocket officers amongst a much greater number of police officers. They will also work more closely with London Underground staff in gathering intelligence on pickpocket operations and mounting deterrent patrols, with Underground staff making themselves particularly visible in areas of high vulnerability.

To ensure that as many police as possible remain out and about, a support unit has been set up to take care of as much of the paperwork as possible. In addition, officers will be given real time information on where offences are being reported so they can better respond. Resources within the Crime Management Centre will be devoted to this.

Other Operation Jackdaw tactics being used are:

1. Crime prevention leafleting, including approaches to hotels, embassies and foreign visitors.
2. Targeting of known repeat offenders.
3. Enforcing bail conditions to keep pickpockets away from the Tube.
4. Making those bailed “sign on” twice a day outside the central area.
5. Overt videoing to disrupt pickpockets.
6. Exploring all possibilities of the Crime and Disorder Act, including obtaining Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and participating in truancy patrols.

Editor's Comments:

This statement should reassure Visitors. In relation to the total number of passengers, the crime levels are low, but just DO be careful and sensible, then you should not be added to the list of victims.

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