Police operation cuts down crimes of theft

Det Insp Stuart Ryan, the lead for the borough's knife crime strategy

Det Insp Stuart Ryan, the lead for the borough's knife crime strategy - Credit: Archant

Islington saw the highest rise in thefts in 6 months

A joint operation to tackle bike and moped thefts has driven down incidents after data showed that Islington had the highest rise in the EU over six months in bike and moped related thefts.

Operation Attrition was set up in April in a collaboration between Islington, Camden and City of London in response to a rise in offences which have included mobile phone, bike and moped snatches.

Det Supt Stuart Ryan, acting borough commander, explained the reasons for the rise in theft offences, and why some young people from the borough have become closely involved.

He said: “There is a huge market now for the replacement of phone parts, and thieves are also finding new ways of getting round the Apple security so they can sell the phones on.”

Closely linked to mobile phone snatches has been a rise in the number of moped thefts, which have seen young people removing 300cc engines from stolen vehicles and installing them in their own mopeds – allowing them to drive at speeds they are not authorised to.

In April, 470 theft person offences occurred in Islington, which Det Supt Ryan explains was “the peak” for this type of crime.

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Less than five months later, Operation Attrition has cut this figure down to 280 offences, last month’s figures show.

Police crime mapping statistics show that thefts were particularly concentrated around the Clerkenwell, Highbury and Old Street areas, but stronger intelligence and engagement by officers has reduced the number of incidents in recent weeks.

At the beginning of the operation, police were working with 70 known young offenders, but this number has ballooned to 250 in light of better intelligence and engagement in the area.

Out of the 250 young offenders on police radars, 190 of them are from Islington.

So far, 29 young people have been put through detention or external care and support within, and in some cases, outside of the borough.

Working a range of day and night shifts, police have doubled their efforts in the number of stop and searches being carried out.

Det Supt Ryan said: “Young people are saying to our officers that they know there is an operation going on and that when the operation stops they will start offending more than they have currently.

“But we are not going to stop, because we can see our operation is working and there are less victims.”