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Hundreds of wanted criminals facing arrest in Met crackdown

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley (James Manning/PA)
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley (James Manning/PA)

Hundreds of wanted criminals including sex offenders, burglars and robbers will be arrested in the next 100 days as part of new measures to boost confidence in Britain’s largest police force.

Courts in London have been warned to expect a surge in cases as a result of the Metropolitan Police crackdown.

It is one of five areas that the force will focus on as new Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley makes his presence felt, along with neighbourhood policing, drug gangs operating within London, fraud, and violent offenders.

Commander Alexis Boon said there is a cohort of people who commit the most crime who will be targeted.

He said: “We’re focusing particularly on offenders who commit violence against women and girls.

“So those that are wanted for rape, those that wanted for breach of orders, those that are out there for stalking, sex offenders.

“And then finally, in that wanted cohort of offenders we’re going to go after the burglars, the robbers, the people with weapons. You will see hundreds of arrests over this 100 days of wanted subjects, people that we’re going to bring to justice.”

Sir Mark also pledged that a police officer will now attend every reported burglary in London – currently only half see an officer come out to investigate.

He has rejoined his old force at arguably one of the most turbulent times in its history, with the Met plagued by a series of scandals and the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer, and put in a form of special measures by a watchdog.

But speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Sir Mark said that problems in the Met go beyond recent scandals, with confidence in local policing having plummeted in recent years.

He told journalists at Scotland Yard: “If you look at the data, Londoners’ confidence in policing where they live has gone down in pretty much a straight line, by over 20 percentage points over the last four years.

Sir Mark Rowley
Sir Mark Rowley rejoins the force during arguably the most turbulent time in its history (Carl De Souza/PA)

“There’s something more systemic there.”

Sir Mark said that the force had let Londoners and the “good majority” of Met officers down and allowed certain individuals to corrupt the force.

“We have to accept that we haven’t been as ruthless and determined at sustaining our integrity as we ought to have been.”

He joked that he will have the words “more trust, less crime, high standards” tattooed on his head for the next five years.

The Commissioner outlined five key areas that he will initially focus on – dealing with individuals who are corrupting the force with “toxic” behaviour; community crime fighting; getting the basics right including dealing with burglary; dealing with the concerns of disillusioned front line officers; and boosting the use of technology.

Sir Mark said he does not want “Woolworths policing in an Amazon age”.

Reforms will include issuing every officer with their own work mobile phone and looking at advances in digital forensics.

Sir Mark said he wants to be able to show the public that progress has been made in key areas in 100 days, and to bring the force out of a form of special measures in 12 to 18 months. He also wants to bring the annual number of homicides down below 100.