Crackdown on crime in Barking town centre as part of joint operation
Lawbreakers beware – that was the message from police and council enforcement officers during a recent two-week joint operation to tackle anti-social behaviour in Barking.
Almost 900 officer hours were invested in the streets around the town centre as part of a major clampdown on street drinking, drug related activities, aggressive begging, and intimidation.
The operation resulted in three arrests, including two for breach of court orders, the discovery of a knife hidden in a cemetery, and 298 alcohol seizures and Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) – an average of 21 a day – being issued to offenders breaking the area’s restrictions.
Barking town centre has been subject to a PSPO since March this year, giving police and council enforcement officers the power to issue £100 on-the-spot fines to offenders committing certain activities such as urinating in the street or spitting.
'We will not stand for it'
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety, said: "We are determined to clean up our borough and send a clear message to the small minority of people who continue to flout the law and cause misery for others: we will not stand for it and we will catch you.
"We’re pleased this joined-up approach has proved to be so successful and we will look to carry out further operations in the future as part of our zero-tolerance approach to crime and anti-social behaviour."
During the 14-day clampdown, the teams used stop and search powers 31 times and dispersal notices 38 times, which allows police to banish offenders from the area completely for 24-hours. Anyone caught returning could be arrested.
One man was fined and given a dispersal notice after defecating in the street.
Expect similar operations throughout the year
A spokesperson for the Police said: "This joint initiative was a great success and was well received by the local community. It demonstrates that where the community has concerns, and these are flagged to police, we will work with our partners to address such concerns.
"Officers from the Metropolitan Police will continue to work in partnership with Barking and Dagenham council to make the Borough a safer place to live, shop and work.
"Residents can expect similar operations to take place at differing locations, prone to anti-social behaviour throughout the year."