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Reardon House robberies – a failure of Tower Hamlets policing?

By on December 9, 2016 in Comment, Crime & Policing

The Wapping Conservatives website is an excellent source of local information especially when we have crime issues in Wapping such as the robberies at Reardon House earlier this week.

LW recommends you all read the information the local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) have given to Cllr. Julia Dockerill which you can find here.

Reardon House

Reardon House

It should be emphasised that the crimes at Reardon House were violent crimes.

Four white men wearing hi-visibility jackets posed as builders, knocked on doors and forced their way into our neighbours homes.

These were planned targeted attacks.

Email to Cllr. Dockerill from SNT

Here is the email sent to Cllr. Julia Dockerill by the SNT and reproduced on the Wapping Conservatives site.

Dear Cllr Dockerill,

Our team was off for the last few days. Now we are back and already planned the following actions to provide crime prevention advice to local residents across Wapping, including Reardon House:

–          We will distribute leaflets attached.

I have seen email from James Turner with updates saying that the Neighbourhoods and ASB team carried out door to door enquiries to raise awareness. James, please let us know, should you require help. We might ask for the assistance of police cadets.

–          Street briefings arranged for the residents willing to discuss their concerns and seeking advice on crime prevention. Our website should be updated with the dates and times within few days. We will try to invite a Bengali speaking police officer to attend our meeting with Reardon House/Lowder House residents.

The number of burglaries usually increases at Christmas time. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness among local residents. Tomorrow we are attending Ward panel meeting, and will bring this to the attention of ward panel members.

All good stuff. Or is it? Some things jump out from the email.

“Our team was off for the last few days.”

The robberies / burglaries took place on Tuesday. It is now Friday. As soon as LW heard about the incident at Reardon House we sent this direct message on Twitter to @MPSTowerHam:

“Hi. Heard there has been a robbery in Reardon House? If you have descriptions of suspects let us know and will circulate.”

On numerous occasions LW has offered to use our reach on social media to help the police, especially on occasions when time is of the essence. Like when four men force their way into Wapping residents homes.

LW has yet to receive any response from @MPSTowerHam.

LW also emailed our SNT and asked them for more information. It was not until Wednesday afternoon that we got a call from one of the very good PCSO’s on the team.

It seemed that 24 hours after the incidents there was no trace of the Reardon House events available to the SNT.

All police officers are more than entitled to their scheduled rest days but as the typical level of local police visibility in Wapping has reached zero it would be comforting to know that there was cover from other parts of the Borough.

Reading that sentence might make you wonder if these multiple offences on the same day at the same place were arranged to coincide with the absence of our SNT? Unlikely, because the SNT in Wapping is invisible.

“We might ask for the assistance of police cadets.”

Using police cadets when large numbers of police officers are needed for a task (such as searching for hidden knives on estates) is now common practise across the Metropolitan Police area. Pity that the Met is now so badly resourced that this is the case.

“Street briefings arranged… “

Again good intent – but how effective will this be? We understand that attendance at the street briefings has not been very good. This is another failure in communication between the police and residents that needs to be addressed.

“The number of burglaries usually increases at Christmas time […] it is important to raise awareness among local residents.”

LW thinks the Reardon House incident has done the job of raising awareness already. LW also understands that during the last few months there have been similar crimes carried out across Tower Hamlets, four white men dressed as builders forcing their way into homes.

LW also understands that one of these incidents occurred in Wapping around the Garnett Street area (if you have details of this please get in touch).

Would it not have been a good idea to raise awareness before Reardon House was attacked, not after?

LW Comment

Living in central London means that we are likely to be subject to more crime than most places. Fortunately we have in the Metropolitan Police Service fantastic police officers who work in a manner that is the envy of other world capitals.

Trouble is many of those who live in Wapping would disagree with this statement and quite understandably.

In the last six months there has been a noticeable increase in crime in Wapping. Issues we are aware of are:

  • Drug dealing on the streets in broad daylight
  • Drug dealers operating from certain premises in Wapping
  • Drug dealing in Watts Street
  • Continued ASB in Watts Street despite it being identified as an ASB hot spot for some years and despite numerous promises made by both the police and the Council
  • Boy racers driving around the streets at high speed at will
  • Wapping becoming the place to come for people to sit in their cars, inhale Nitrous Oxide, dumping those shiny canisters in the street and driving off
  • These cars being crashed (without loss of life so far)
  • The police 101 system being not fit for purpose
  • Residents making calls to 101 which do not seem to be logged by police operators
  • Officers claiming they have attended minor ASB incidents when they have not
  • Or local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) becoming invisible
  • Recycling bins being set alight
  • And of course the failure of the MPS to tackle electoral crime in Tower Hamlets

This is not an exhaustive list, just the stuff we are aware of. It is more worrying in the light of the comments of the new Borough Commander made back in September this year who stated that one of her key priorities was “reducing Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) including drugs and street crime”.

We should all remain thankful that Wapping is still one of the safest places to live in London (well, it was the last time we checked…).  The key issue for 2017 may be how long Wapping remains as we know and love it or will it slowly descend into inner-city chaos? As the Borough Commander said in her presentation to the Council drugs dealing breeds violent crime.

Harsh reality

If our police force cannot provide a basic level of safety and security in Wapping because of a lack of resources, a lack of will or a lack of ability then maybe the MPS should just tell residents so we know what the deal is.

At the moment the view of a considerable number of people in Tower Hamlets is that there is something fundamentally wrong with our police service.

For more information

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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Tower Hamlets Lib Dems had already been distributing leaflets in the block to let people know what is occurring. We have since been informed from one of our members that there was another attempted break-in this week.
    We have followed up with Wapping Police and TH Housing Dept to find out what they are planning to do about it. We understand that the scaffolding was due to be removed in May, then again in October. This seems an obvious driver of the crime, and we want to know if this will be taken down urgently.

  2. mark church says:

    on the same day as your reported incident in reardon house,you may like to know there was a similar robbery in the artichoke hill flats , men using a similar method burgled a flat when the resident was at home in the middle of the day,

    as the property managers have access to cctv i hope the police are able to track the criminals that committed this crime

    i wonder if the lack of obvious police presence encourages criminals to see wapping as an easy touch for drug and antisocial behaviour

  3. Susan says:

    The police communication so good that unless I had read your post I would have no idea it had happened! Police are not providing good enough service in our area…..

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