A dedicated team of 100 police officers has been set-up to tackle anti-social and criminal behaviour in the West End, one of London’s most important and popular tourist destinations.
The West End accounts for almost half of all recorded crime in the City of Westminster, making the area less attractive for local residents, businesses and visitors.
Local Borough Commander Alison Newcomb hopes the new team will replicate the success of a similar initiative by New York which has cut crime in and around Times Square by 53 per cent since 2001.
Officers will make regular patrols of micros beats within a ‘West End Impact Zone’ consisting of Leicester Square, Coventry Street, Piccadilly Circus and the immediate surrounding area.
A minimum of 23 officers will be on duty each night and there will also be a mobile police station situated within Leicester Square to help provide a visible presence and assistance point.
Commander Newcomb said: “Local people have wanted additional resources to deal with anti-social behaviour and crime in the West End.
“The creation of the Impact Zone policing team will provide visible policing that responds directly to the concerns of the community through engagement; it will reduce crime and the fear of crime and raise community confidence.
“The West End is a vibrant and exciting place and the MPS is committed to ensuring it is safe for all to enjoy.”
The team’s creation has been backed by Mayor Boris Johnson who joined officers as they made their first patrols.
Mr Johnson said the team would “provide a significantly enhanced police presence in what is one of the most popular shopping and entertainment districts in the world.
He added: “In learning from New York, the Met Police are going to make the West End even safer for all those who work and visit this landmark destination.”