Newham police will be ‘careful’ with stop and search powers

Newham’s police chief says people have nothing to fear from stop and search but admits groups of more than three will be approached during the Olympics.

Officers from across the country have been drafted in by the Metropolitan Police to support the Newham team.

Chief Supt Robert Jones said his officers would be “careful” about how they used their powers in the Stratford dispersal zone.

He said: “Sometimes people will be stopped and searched when they have done anything wrong, but they do have rights.

“Really, I’d expect officers to engage with groups who are causing problems. Dispersal is one of the options that they have.

“The dispersal zone is not something we entered into lightly. It’s something that the community have asked for in response to problems with antisocial behaviour. It is not because of the Olympics.

“It’s not meant to target or criminalise anyone, it’s not meant to target young people who are out enjoying themselves and enjoying the sun.

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“If there are people engaged in antisocial behaviour or taking drugs or alcohol, then we are not going to tolerate that.

“It is for those who are coming in to take advantage of the occasion.”

Officers will be mainly be visible around Stratford station, and hotspots like High Street North during the afternoon and evening.

Mr Jones said officers will also be on hand to guide and advise tourists.

The Newham team have also been tasked with familiarising their new colleagues with their new patch. Briefings will take place twice a day.

“We are going to have a lot of officers who have never worked in Newham before, and also a lot of them from other parts of the country who have never worked in London before

“So it’s really important that we give them a proper briefing and they understand (the borough) and what we need from them

“There are going to be thousands of people coming here to see the Olympics and they are going to get an impression of what the borough is like.”

Mr Jones, who started his job in the spring, also revealed 50 new officers and 14 new PSCOs recently started in Newham.

Their long-term priorities include continuing to reduce violent crime and gang related activity in the borough.

He added: “I have been made to feel really welcome.

“I think Newham has got a bit of everything both as a community and as a challenge.”