UPDATE ON RECENT VIOLENT CRIME – MESSAGE FROM A/BCU Commander Louis Smith
On Friday 5th July, Craig Small was shot dead outside a fast food shop in the Harrow Road. On Sunday 7th July, not more than 150 metres away from the shop, Kwasi Mesah-Ababio was shot dead in Monks Park. Rivalry between street gangs is a potential motive but neither of the dead men were directly linked to gangs, making this all the more tragic. No arrests have yet been made for Craig’s murder. Three people have been arrested, two of them now charged, for the murder of Kwasi.
On the afternoon of Monday 8th July, not long after I sent the last message, a third extremely serious assault took place in Preston Park. Two men have been charged with attempted murder. We are not seeking any further suspects. We believe this crime was not linked to the two murders. Thankfully no serious incidents of violence have happened since then.
All three incidents happened in Brent but other high risk crimes such as firearm discharges, had happened in Harrow and Barnet over that weekend of 6th/ 7th July so I met with partners from all three Boroughs for frank discussions and sharing of information last week and again yesterday. The joint belief based on police intelligence, partner information and community assessment is that people close to the area of the murders still feel scared and are not yet able to return to normality but have noticed and welcome police presence. We all believe that better understanding of Craig’s murder, especially making arrests, is going to help drawing this first terrible part of these incidents to a close. Based on our intelligence and enforcement activity, I genuinely believe that the risks of further violence have reduced. My task is to turn that belief into reassurance for our communities so please share this message with anyone you think may want to see it.
As a group we also discussed how in the medium term we can move to permanent risk reduction and generating optimism among communities – the feeling that things will get better. Partners have taken away activity such as appropriate messaging for school pupils, and through them their families, before the end of term. We will move to longer term reassurance activity in due course but right now, Police focus remains on putting those who killed Craig in front of a court and finding out as much as we can about both murders and the attempted murder to help the families come to terms with it.
While there have been no incidents of serious violence for over a week now, in the interim we have executed lots of search warrants, arrested dozens of people, seized 2 firearms and charged one person with criminal possession of one of these guns. We have had the media out with us to see this activity, asking that they share this with the public to show the relentless police search for the truth and action to tackle violence.
We remain the top priority for policing in London. The additional officers from central support teams, approaching 150 of them, will stay with us. Funds have been made available to us to retain local officers on duty and cancel their rest days. I am acutely aware that enforcement with no clear context around it has in the past resulted in such resentment that we have serious disorder. I am conscious of that and while my focus is enforcement, that balance of engagement and protection against perceived as well as identified risk is there. For example we have been invited to have a police presence at community events with the aim of helping those attending to feel safe. The feedback has been positive. Our advice to youth clubs, places where people meet and event managers has been to continue to as normal but if you are worried, tell us and we will try to deal with your concerns.
Finally, can I ask again that if you have anything you can share that will bring these killers to justice or any information that can prevent another violent crime, you get that information to us. You can dial 999 or 101, use the MPS website, or pass information anonymously through Crime Stoppers or Fearless. These are totally independent charities. We will not know who gave us the information. Crime Stoppers 0800 555 111 https://crimestoppers-uk.org/ Fearless https://www.fearless.org/en Met Police https://www.met.police.uk/
Ultimately, communities can have a huge impact on the risks of crime through unity. Please talk to each other, use your links to Ward Councillors and Members of Parliament, get in touch with your local police officers. The antidote to fear is knowledge. Please be safe but do a little to get involved and to know a little more about what is happening where you live, work and spend time in London.