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New team launched to tackle crime in the West End


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This page was last updated on
28-Jul-2014 7:42

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City of Westminster police and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today launched a new team of 100 officers in the West End that will be dedicated to providing a permanent and highly visible presence in the city’s main epicentre for tourism and nightlife.

Over 28 million tourists visit the West End every year. Leicester Square alone has the highest concentration of licensed premises in Europe, and sees in excess of 225,000 visitors every Saturday night.

The West End accounts for almost half of the borough’s total recorded crime. The area that the team will focus on is the busiest area for violence and robbery offences connected with the night time economy. This contributes to over four per cent of the seven key neighbourhood crime types that the Mayor has challenged the police to reduce by 20 per cent by 2016.

City of Westminster police were inspired to establish the West End Impact Zone by the proven success of the New York Police Department model being used to police Times Square. Both areas have similar challenges with many tourists and licensed premises. Since 2001, the policing model in New York has seen a 53 per cent reduction in crime across the city for a similar set of neighbourhood crime types.

The West End Impact Zone team will consist of 100 highly motivated officers that will be split into several teams providing a minimum presence of 18 officers during the day rising to a minimum of 23 at night providing coverage when demand is at its highest. These officers will take ownership of the area and play a major role in deterring and reducing crime. Previous police operations have shown that a permanent team of officers that build a strong investment in an area and understand its problems, can be essential to cutting crime and boosting confidence.

The West End Impact Zone is the busiest area within the West End that almost all tourists, visitors and criminals will pass through at some point in their day making it a hot-spot area for crime. The Impact Zone is designed to address this by providing a highly visible policing presence consisting of regular patrols of micros beats and fixed points at key locations within the Impact Zone, providing reassurance and crime prevention for visitors to the West End of London. They will also encourage the safe departure from the West End when the bars and clubs close. In addition the officers will staff a mobile police station situated within Leicester Square, and will use podia to enhance the police presence.

The Impact Zone consists of Leicester Square, Coventry Street, Piccadilly Circus and the immediate surrounding area.

Westminster Commander, Alison Newcomb said:

"I am delighted to be launching the new dedicated Impact Zone policing team, that will be working with the local businesses and community to deter, prevent and reduce crime and anti social behaviour in the area.

"Local people have wanted additional resources to deal with anti-social behaviour and crime in the West End.

"The creation of the Impact Zone policing team will provide visible policing that responds directly to the concerns of the community through engagement; it will reduce crime and the fear of crime and raise community confidence.

"The West End is a vibrant and exciting place and the MPS is committed to ensuring it is safe for all to enjoy."

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“We are recruiting thousands of extra officers to strengthen frontline policing and putting extra cops into visible, neighbourhood roles. This new team will provide a significantly enhanced police presence in what is one of the most popular shopping and entertainment districts in the world. In learning from New York, the Met Police are going to make the West End even safer for all those who work and visit this landmark destination.”

Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Cllr Nickie Aiken said:

“The West End of London is a unique place with unique needs and a unique reputation around the world. It has substantial, and specific needs, in terms of protecting and reassuring the public and so I wholeheartedly welcome the Impact Zone initiative to deploy additional police officers on its streets. It is a major step in addressing some of the low-level crime that the sheer volume of visitors attracts.

"We have asked for, and been given, reassurances that the extra officers will not affect the crucial work done by the Met around the rest of Westminster.”

Chief Executive, Heart of London, Sarah Porter said:

"With over 200 million visitors each year, policing the West End is a huge challenge. Our local Police and Westminster City Council already work together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour here and we need to build on that success. That’s why the Heart of London Business Alliance strongly supports today’s launch of the Impact Zone for our area.

"Additional Police presence with a fresh focus on quality-of-life crimes will be a boost for the area and enhance London’s reputation as a safe and welcoming World City for investment, for business, for residents and visitors alike.”

Notes to Editors:

MOPAC 7 is The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime's (MOPAC) seven key 'neighbourhood' crimes types as set out in the Police and Crime Plan 2013-16:

Violence with injury
Theft of a motor vehicle
Theft from a motor vehicle
Theft from the person
Vandalism (criminal damage)

Heart of London Business Alliance:
Established in 2001, the Heart of London Business Alliance was the first central London Business Improvement District (BID). Referred to as the West End Business Improvement District, it provides leadership and direction for over 500 businesses and property owners throughout the Leicester Square to Piccadilly Circus and Piccadilly and St James’s areas. Footfall in our area reaches approximately 90 million visitors each year and in 2012, the Heart of London Business Alliance became the first UK BID to be elected to a third term.

The Heart of London Business Alliance serves as a robust voice on behalf of the organisations it represents, placing the issues affecting business onto the wider agenda and working in partnership with others to act as a positive catalyst for change. Led by Chief Executive, Sarah Porter, the Heart of London Business Alliance promotes the district to a global audience, ensuring that the area is renowned as a hub for business, education, culture and leisure and remains an integral part of the Capital for people to visit, live, trade and work in.

To find out more, visit www.heartoflondonbid.co.uk/

NOT FOR PUBLICATION: Map of Impact zone is available via www.met.police.uk/pressbureau

Media are invited to attend the launch of Westminster police's new Impact Zone team. Made up of 100 officers that will be dedicated to policing the West End's Leicester Square, Coventry Street, Piccadilly Circus and the immediate surrounding areas, providing a permanent and highly visible presence.

There will be a photo opportunity at 10.00am on Monday, 28 July on the steps of the statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus, W1 where Westminster Commander Alison Newcomb and London Mayor Boris Johnson will be surrounded by 100 officers as they formally launch the Impact Zone team. Westminster Commander Alison Newcomb will also be available for interviews.

Media wishing to attend or for interviews should notify in advance Press Bureau on 020 7230 2171 or via