Working together to keep kids safe at the end of the school day

Operation Derwentia

Councillor Asma Begum and police officer searching bushes

Tower Hamlets Council has joined forces with local police as part of a new partnership operation aimed at cracking down on anti-social behaviour and deterring robberies against school children.

On Wednesday, officers from the Met’s Central East BCU were joined by council enforcement officers as they carried out high visibility patrols, weapons sweeps and community engagement in the areas around Langdon Park School. The operation was timed to coincide with the peak of school travel traffic between 3pm and 5pm. The Central East BCU’s safer transport team also worked in parallel on local transport routes.

Councillor Asma Begum, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “We know that crime and anti-social behaviour is the number one concern among our residents, which is why we work closely with police partners to support and conduct enforcement operations targeting those involved in crime and disorder. This is an excellent initiative, as we know that after Christmas there is an increase in children being victims of robbery.”

Known as Operation Derwentia, the new approach began as a daily tasking for the police during term-time in January. Following its success, it has been extended to cover additional schools and colleges across Tower Hamlets and Hackney throughout February and March.

Since the high visibility patrols began, robberies against children of school age have reduced by up to 38 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The operation has so far resulted in 17 anti-social behaviour warnings and two arrests.

Superintendent Martin Rolston, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “I am delighted to see the impact Operation Derwentia is having in the local area. The safety of the school children and other local residents is a key priority for us and to see such a decline in robberies is really encouraging. On the back of the operation’s success we will be continuing the weekly patrols into March, with the support of Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers.”

Posted on Tuesday 17th March 2020