IT wasn’t a Christmas without incident in the City, but it was certainly a silent night on more than one occasion thanks to a winter initiative from the local force.
A mobile command station, coupled with police and London Ambulance Service (LAS) response bikes and on the ground Project Servator teams, acted as a visible presence over the festive period, leading superintendent Bill Duffy, who led this year’s operation, to laud the efficiency of his troops in keeping the City safe while reducing strain on resources of fellow emergency service teams.
A total of 28 ambulance call outs were cancelled because of a more prompt response from LAS and the City’s bike crews – able to more quickly navigate the busy streets – while an estimated 5,000 members of the public were clued up on telltale signs of crime that threatened to wreck their Christmas break.
Alongside increased patrols on the streets, officers also handed out 1,000 crime prevention bag hangers which allowed people enjoying the City’s bars, pubs and coffee shops to safely hang their bags and coats under their table to keep them out of sight and reach of potential thieves.
In addition, the mobile police station was used by the roads policing unit as part of an operation to combat unsafe vehicles using local roads, and by the communities team for an operation to support vulnerable homeless persons.
“Christmas is a wonderful time of year and we have been delighted with the success of our some of our special festive initiatives such as the cycle response bikes and mobile police station,” explained superintendent Duffy.
“We would like to thank all our partners, local businesses and, most importantly the public, for remaining vigilant and interacting so proactively with our officers.”
2017 was the second year running that LAS bike responders and the City’s force have united to answer emergency 999 calls where people required only simple medical attention, and over a three-week period in December the partnership answered 41 calls.
Not only did this keep vital police resources free to deal with other more significant incidents, it also helped colleagues in the NHS keep their hospitals clear for those who really needed it.
But superintendent Duffy does not want the Square Mile to rest on its laurels, and warned that Christmas being behind us is no reason to let your guard down against crime.
“We would encourage everyone to continue this attitude [of awareness] into the New Year,” he said.
“Many of us will have received great gifts for Christmas – including new bags, phones, and laptops – and we should try to do our upmost to keep these safe when out and about in the City.”