When we bring a suspect into our custody suite, we always check their mobile phones to make sure that they are not stolen. As it happens, one of these three burglary suspects was in fact carrying a mobile phone that had been stolen from a student at school. Following some further enquiries, all three of the suspects were charged with burglary, and remanded in custody to appear in court the next day. The fitness of police officers is sometimes called into question. Let me tell you that chasing a suspect while you are wearing boots, body armour, and a kit belt is no mean feat - never mind having enough breath left over to transmit an intelligible commentary over your radio so your colleagues can find you and help you. This is the sort of daily challenge officers meet in Brent, and I am proud to see what they achieve.
Working alongside regular officers, you may already know of the many volunteers who give their time to help us serve the community. They come in many different guises, the most well-known being the Metropolitan Special Constabulary. We currently have 140 MSC officers (otherwise known as 'Specials') who each perform a minimum duty of 16hrs per month. These police officers perform many of the same roles as their paid colleagues, including response policing, neighbourhood policing, proactive operations, and investigative work with the CID. We also like to make the most of any specialist skills they have - what could be better, for example, than a banker from the City of London volunteering to work working alongside the detectives in our Financial Investigation Unit? Specials deliver results every bit as impressive as their regular colleagues. Excellent work by one of our Specials recently led to the arrest of a man who was wanted, and a search of the suspect's address. The suspect was then transferred to Brighton police station where he was wanted for multiple offences. He has now been charged and remanded in custody, and has also been served deportation papers - it turns out he was in the UK illegally.
This simple everyday policing job, done well, has again resulted in the residents of Brent being that little bit safer. Some of Brent's Specials have also become part of the team delivering SmartWater in Harlesden. You probably remember me previously mentioning this project we are undertaking, knocking on doors to deliver and install SmartWater property marking, to protect homes from burglary. Widespread use of this sophisticated property marking helps us catch burglars, return recovered property to its rightful owner, and discourage criminals from committing burglaries in the first place. We have other kinds of volunteer working with us too, that you may not know so much about. The Metropolitan Police Volunteers working at Brent are seen as a benchmark of good practice within the Met. There was even a recent film made describing Brent's volunteer programme, and the work the volunteers do, which has been watched over 2,000 times on YouTube. Our volunteers donated over 12,000 voluntary hours last year, for example helping us with administrative procedures, taking minutes of meetings, and phoning victims of crime to help improve the quality of service we deliver. They also help us directly serve the public by working on our front counters, where they assist with many simple enquiries from the public. All this means police officers have more time to be out patrolling the streets. Our volunteers also play a key role in helping to run Brent's police cadet unit - the Volunteer Police Cadets being our third kind of volunteer. We currently have about 100 young people aged 13 to 19 enrolled in the police cadets programme at Brent. As well as developing their leadership skills and learning about the police, police cadets often work right alongside police officers in a crime prevention role, helping with youth engagement initiatives, delivering leaflets door-to-door to assist with major investigations, and performing plainclothes roles to help us test whether licensing laws are being followed. All these kinds of volunteer they give up their time to help us achieve things we could not do without their help; their contribution to the policing of Brent should not be underestimated. As ever, if you have any information on crime matters, we will act. You can call us on Crime stoppers (0800 555 111), 101, or your local Safer Neighbourhood Team Teams accessed via the Met Police Website (http://www.met.police.cu.uk/). In an emergency, call 999. For daily updates and information about what is happening in Brent, you can follow us on Twitter at @MPSBrent Thank you for your continued support. Matthew Gardner