More than 340 arrests have been made as part of an ongoing operation tackling robbery in the West End as the Metropolitan Police Service launches an advertising campaign targeted at central London and urging people to “Look up, Look out” for thieves. Operation Fahrenheit was launched in late November last year to disrupt robbery and associated crime in and around the West End using more Stop and Search, targeted plain-clothes and high-visibility patrols in hot spot areas and other tactics.
Central West BCU officers attached to the dedicated robbery team and the night-time economy team have been supported by the Violent Crime Task Force to enhance proactive capability.
In the months since Operation Fahrenheit began, officers have conducted more than 2,800 Stop and Search events, while upwards of 340 arrests have been made for a variety of violence, weapon and drugs-related offences.
To support police enforcement activity around robbery, the Metropolitan Police Service is launching an advertising campaign which aims to prompt people to “Look up, Look out” when they might be distracted by their mobile phone in public so that they’re less vulnerable to becoming victims of crime.
The adverts, which began to appear from Monday 10 February, specifically target and reach people when they are in the West End by using digital street posters, drink mats and other ambient media in licensed premises, but also mobile and digital radio advertising.
The ads will reach people at times of the day and at locations when and where robberies are most often committed (ie near major attractions and transport hubs and in High Streets during the evenings).
Beating heart of London
The West End and St James’ Wards are the top two ward areas for robbery in the capital. Around two-thirds of the robberies in those wards are linked to the night-time economy and happen between 18.00 hrs and 06.00 hrs.
Chief superintendent Helen Harper, BCU commander for the Central West Area which covers Westminster, said: “London’s West End is the beating heart of the capital and it’s a fantastic, vibrant place in which to live and work or visit. It’s a world-renowned destination and welcomes millions of tourists and visitors every month. My officers work incredibly hard around the clock to make it as safe a place to be as possible with the active support of local businesses and other partners. Unfortunately, there’s a small contingent of criminals intent on targeting people enjoying central London to commit thefts, robberies and other offences.”
Harper continued: “We are meeting this issue head on with a robust operational response and we’re seeing results with more suspects and weapons being taken off the streets. We will continue to do everything we can to reduce violent crime in central London and keep people safe.”
Harper concluded: “The Metropolitan Police Service also has a role to play in preventing crime from being committed in the first place. The aim of this new campaign is simply to prompt people to stay vigilant and not be distracted, as well as take simple steps towards making themselves less of a target for thieves and robbers.”