Apr 25 2013

Harrow CCTV operator commended

harrow_council_logo2CCTV is not all about ‘Big Brother’ – as the commendation of one of Harrow’s crime-fighting operators has shown.

Will Baron was commended by a judge for the role he played in jailing an organised gang of burglars, who were responsible for a string of burglaries in commercial properties. Will, 36, worked alongside officers from the Met Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SCD7), to carry out surveillance on the gang, who were based in Harrow. He and an SCD7 officer tracked the movement of the gang during nights for a period of around 10 weeks, between December 2011 and March 2012.

They were able to confirm the identities of those involved, identify the vehicles used and document meeting places, as well as capture evidence of the suspects preparing for the break-ins. The evidence led to the conviction of eight defendants, who were sentenced to a total of 34 years at Harrow Crown Court in January.

Following the court case, Will has now received a Judges’ certificate of commendation. His Honour Judge Mole QC commended Will for his “expertise, hard work and dedication” in assisting the police.

Will said: “It is always a good feeling when people are rightly brought to justice because of the work you have done. I am proud to part of an important chain between the Police, Metcall and CCTV helping to ensure the safety of people within the borough 24 hours a day 7 days a week 52 weeks a year.”

Harrow Council Portfolio Holder for Environment and Community Safety Cllr Philip O’Dell said: “Harrow Council is committed to making the borough a safe and pleasant place to live for all of our residents. Our hardworking CCTV team play a vital role in this, working alongside the police to alert them of criminal behaviour or track suspects, whilst also helping them secure convictions, as in this case. A hearty well done to Will for all his efforts in bringing this gang to justice – his judge’s commendation is very much deserved.”

The court case followed a three month long investigation by officers from the Metropolitan Police Serious and Organised Crime Command that uncovered an organised criminal network behind a number of burglaries in various different commercial premises, including restaurants, bookmakers and bureaux de change.

Officers believe the group were responsible for regular burglaries – more than one per week during the three months – in Central London, including Oxford Street, East London, Harrow, Hayes, Wealdstone, Shepperton and Guildford.

Case officer DC Arun Bose said: “This case would not have come to the successful conclusion without the extremely professional and dedicated assistance of our partners working in the CCTV control room at Harrow Council. The quality of the footage provided was exceptional and was a vital component in securing the convictions.”

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  1. Praxis Reform

    I suspect this is more luck than planning… Twice in the past, I’ve been attacked on a bus, and Harrow’s Police have been slightly worse than useless.

    Apparently there’s only one guy with the cable to download data from a buses CCTV system for the whole of London, so unless you’ve been murdered, the chance of anyone actually seeing the footage is near zero, since the data is overwritten after 30 days.

    The second time this happened to me, I suggested they loan me the cable so I could download the footage myself, but they weren’t interested. I said I’d buy the hard disk from the bus I was travelling on, so that the cable guy could download it at his leisure – apparently not allowed. Offers to pay this guy overtime out of my own pocket – again no interest.

    Eventually I kicked up such a fuss that they got the guy with the cable to start doing his job and download the data a couple of days before it was due to be wiped…

    The genius with the cable managed to pull footage from a completely different bus at a completely different time from when I was travelling.

    On a different note, I’ll get Harrow Police come round to my place of work with nebulous requests along the lines of “We see you have a CCTV system, and we’ve had a report of nearby, can you look though all the footage between 5pm Friday evening and 9am Monday morning to see if there’s someone coming down your fire exit?”.

    Twice now, I’ve had people waste time searching hours of CCTV footage, only for the Police to decide *they* have better things to do than send someone back to pick up the DVD I’ve had made for them.

  2. iharrow.com on Facebook

    Praxis Reform commented on iharrow.com:

    I suspect this is more luck than planning… Twice in the past, I’ve been attacked on a bus, and Harrow’s Police have been slightly worse than useless….

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