Transport police target Wharf pickpockets

By Rob Virtue on June 7, 2010 2:43 PM |


Pickpockets on the Wharf are being targeted in a police operation which has already seen the crime decrease 28 per cent over the last two months.

British Transport Police identified Canary Wharf's stations as a hotspot for theft, a crime which has risen 10 per cent across the DLR and Tube networks in the last year.

BTP's chief inspector Chris Dreyfus said the results had been encouraging since the launch of Operation Silence in April.

He said: "One of the hotspots is Canary Wharf because there's a large number of people, and more opportunity."

"We have a mixture of high visibility - getting officers out deterring people - and intelligence led work.

"We've now seen a 28 per cent decrease already compared to the same period last year. We're really hitting it hard."

Chief Insp Dreyfus, whose remit is the eastern area of London, spoke to The Wharf following the unveiling of figures for April 2009 to 2010.

Overall, the crime figures for the DLR network, and the London transport system in general, have been encouraging, with theft the only crime to rise overall in the capital.

The DLR and Tube networks have seen sharp decreases in anti-social activities, involve drugs and criminal damage.

According to Chief Insp Dreyfus a vast amount of criminal damage was down to a small number of graffiti offenders and dealing with them has helped result in a 17 per cent decrease in that area.

Tackling that and letting the public know about success stories, is the BTP's aim to improve people's perception of public transport.

CI Dreyfus said: "The DLR and the Tube are both very safe and there's been a reduction over the last four years across all transport in London.

"The challenge we have with DLR is that it's an open system with fewer barriers and can be easier to travel.

"You would think figures would be sky high in terms of anti-social behaviour but it's well covered by CCTV, crew on the trains and officers patrolling the stations.

"It's safe to travel but people's perception of safety is difficult to maintain. It just takes a few negative stories to make that go wrong.

"So conviction stories are important to us. It gets people in the mindset that if they report to us, something gets done and the results have shown that."

An area the transport have been targeting on the DLR over the last year is violent passengers.

The result has seen a 7.5 per cent drop on the DLR and Tube network.

CI Dreyfus said: "Much of the violence is alcohol related and we have done a lot of research on crime trends, looking at where the need is and making sure we have officers there."

The result is a heavily policed transport system after 7pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

CI Dreyfus said: "We can't be everywhere all of the time but we have more officers out there reducing the opportunity to commit crime."