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Bexley police up for award

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 June 2012

Police have been praised for cracking down on theft of metal like this cabling

Police have been praised for cracking down on theft of metal like this cabling

Archant

Bexley Police has been short listed for an award for its successful crackdown on metal crime.

Bexley is in with a chance to win a £1000 prize if they can beat competition from Enfield and Newham in the Safer Communities category of the Problem Orientated Partnerships Awards, which were created to promote the police’s work in partnership with local authorities and other agencies.

Bexley is entering for its work to tackle and reduce a dramatic increase in metal thefts.

In the year from October 2010 to September 2011 Bexley suffered a spate of metal crime. Tens of water valves were stolen from tower blocks, which cost around £75, 000 to replace.

In addition copper water tanks, piping and intercom wiring systems were ripped from newly refurbished flats in Thamesmead, costing over a quarter of a million to repair.

The memorial plaques were also snatched from Bexleyheath and Sidcup war memorials, outraging local people.

In response, Bexley police set up a Metal Theft Task Force in December 2011 and joined forces with Bexley council’s Trading Standards and Neighbourhood Services Team as well as social landlords and the UK Environment Agency to cut crime.

The team scoured scrap metal yards for stolen goods, seized uninsured and unlicensed vehicles and issued crime prevention advice to yard owners. Over three months they made 24 arrests and seized 11 vehicles.

Bexley Borough Commander Victor Olisa said: “Metal theft is not a victimless crime, it causes misery to both residents and businesses and costs millions to industry and local authorities.

The extensive work that was undertaken by all the agencies involved in this project is a demonstration of partnership working at its best and I am delighted that Bexley has been short listed.”

Peter Craske, Bexley Council’s Cabinet member for community safety added: “The approach that was used so successfully in Bexley is now being rolled out across London and I welcome the impact it has had in tackling a crime that causes misery, hits taxpayers and consumers and puts lives at risk.”

The POP awards ceremony will take place on June 18 at New Scotland Yard.

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