In this week of remembrance it is incredibly sad that another of our colleagues, DC Cashman died on duty this week whilst chasing a suspect in North London. It is a stark reminder that Police Officers do their duty in the knowledge that they may have to pay the ultimate sacrifice.
I am therefore very pleased to tell you that this week a 19 year old man, Brian Mudziwepasi was found guilty of intentionally firing a gun at 3 of my officers with intent to endanger their lives and has been jailed for 11 years.
This was one of the first major incidents that I had to deal with when I joined the Borough. Sgt Dean Croft and Pc's Jonathan Case & Jonathan Grabauskas attended an address at a block of flats in Morden Road, Morden, to carry out a routine enquiry. One of the officers recognised Mudziwepasi as he was leaving the communal entrance. As they tried to speak to him he pushed past them, produced a silver handgun from his waistband and pointed it at their heads.
Mudziwepasi ran off and as the 3 officers chased him into the street he turned and shot at the officers. Fortunately he missed them and Mudziwepasi escaped down a nearby alleyway. Forensic examination of the area revealed a single shell casing and the gun that fired it - a converted Baikal self-loading pistol. It was later recovered at a location believed unconnected with Mudziwepasi. Following superb work by our Police & Local Authority Integrated Offender Management Team and Trident Gang Crime Command. Mudziwepasi gave himself up at Tooting police station.
Fortunately this kind of incident is rare on the streets of London but particularly so here in Merton. My 3 officers showed incredible bravery and professionalism when facing a dangerous suspect with a live firearm who they continued to pursue even after he had fired at them. Mudziwepasi now thankfully now faces a considerable length of time in prison to consider the consequences of his actions.
I have been telling you for some time that crime is at a 10 year low here in Merton and we have some of the highest detection rates in London. I thought I would put that into a bit more local context by concentrating on one ward - Longthornton. Sgt Steve Burke has been working incredibly hard leading his team to reduce crime. This has involved leaflet dropping, high visibility patrols, getting to know the community and good old fashioned good police work. Over the last year he and his team have reduced burglary by 36% and even more impressively the last 3 months have shown 67% drops since the previous year. Despite these successes Steve has recently written to his team thanking them for all their work but reminding them of the challenge that November presents every year and motivating them to be even more vigilant, not rest on their laurels and continue to make positive difference to his residents.
Some of you know that the Met are looking to replace under-used front counters and open up some of our other non-public buildings, share places with partners or be in public locations like supermarkets, libraries, Post Offices etc at fixed times. The idea being that you will have access to us at the times you want us, in places you already visit. I would welcome your views on this issues and particularly if you have suggestions about places we can use to increase our availability to you.
On a personal level this week I went to the fabulous Merton Partnership Conference on Tuesday which affirmed for me what a fantastic borough this and how lucky I am to be part of Team Merton. I then went with some of you to the Annual Solemn Requiem Mass for Deceased Police Officers at Westminster Cathedral. On Wednesday we hosted the lovely children from The Rowens School on a visit to the Police Station, I went to a Love Wimbledon event in the Town Centre and in the evening I was incredibly honoured to be invited to the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden for their "Mercy for Mankind" exhibition. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are very inspiring to me, their peaceful message of Love for All, Hatred Of None really resonated with me. The evening had many highlights but many of us sat in awe as £350,000 was handed out in donations to local and London wide Charities. This money was all raised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to provide humanitarian aid to those in need and to devote time and expertise for social projects. I met many great people during the evening and I really hope to start work with them soon on youth engagement activities and ideas to engender social harmony.
Finally, today of course is the Remembrance Service at the Civic Centre and then on Sunday, one of the most important days of the year for me - Remembrance Sunday. This year I will be attending 2 Ceremonies with you. Firstly at Nelson Hospital and then Wimbledon War Memorial - I would love to see you there and please come and say hello if you can make it.
I think that is about it for now - have a great weekend and I hope to see some of you today and over the weekend.
You can follow MPS Merton on Twitter, @MpsMerton
Another great week in Merton where my officers, teams and managers have achieved some remarkable results.
Those who have seen my speech at the Merton Annual Staff Conference will have seen the smile on my face as I tell proudly that amongst other things;
- Crime is at its lowest level in Merton for 10 years
- We are 2nd in the MPS for TNO (Total Notifiable Offence) detection rates - this is across every crime type that is reported to us
- 999 response time is in the top 5 in the MPS and the best of any Borough in South London
- In relation to QCB data, victims of crime tell us that we are improving in all areas.
- Most Serious Violence - we have the best detection rates of any Borough in London
- We are the only Borough in the MPS to have the 4 key factors of Public Confidence - Engagement, Treatment, Effectiveness & Perception of ASB all above the MPS average.
partners at a time when all of us are having even more calls for service and the strain on our resources has never been greater.
Earlier in the week we conducted a series of co-ordinated raids on 15 houses across the Borough to disrupt criminal networks suspected of money laundering offences. We
arrested 10 people, seized cash and drugs but also obtained restraint orders on 2 houses, a high value car and cash valuing over £800,000 - a clear example that we will not let
As you know the MPS is in the mist of a major financial challenge - to save more than £500million by April 2015. We also need to meet difficult targets set for us by MOPAC of
decreasing crimes by 20 per cent, costs by 20 per cent and increasing public confidence by 20 per cent by 2016.
What this does present is an opportunity for us to redesign ourselves to make sure we are match fit for future challenges. One of the things that I need to look at is the use of
buildings across Merton. I want to create a more flexible, locally shaped access that meets the needs of the community, reduces costs and releases officers to do what I think you
want them to do - be out on the streets, not behind a front desk that isn’t being used. A much smarter plan is to use places that you already visit at times you already visit them.
Please be reassured that despite my eagerness to start making this happen, none of these changes will happen without consultation with Senior Partners and Leaders across
Merton. I do know from speaking to many at public events that this period of uncertainty is causing concern for you. I am working with these partners to arrange a series of
consultation meetings with you to discuss this is more detail and give you the opportunity to highlight concerns or ask specificquestions you may have.
On a personal note this week, I am working at the rugby tomorrow where I will shadow the Gold Commander to see what, if any, learning we can gain from Twickenham to bring back to the policing of the Tennis and on Sunday I am a guest at the Christ Church in West Wimbledon.
Next week we are having the Award Ceremony for our latest TKO graduates on Thursday at Nuffield Gym in the Broadway (you are welcome to come and see how this works) and later the same night I am hosting a Local Scout Group at Wimbledon Police Station who are working towards their Emergency Services Badge.
Thanks again to all those that follow us on twitter @MPSMerton and for your messages of support during not only this week but throughout the year so far.
This is a fabulous borough where exceptional people are doing exceptional things week in week out.
You can follow MPS Merton on Twitter, @MpsMerton