Policemen win award for pretending to be homeless

New Cross Safer Neighbourhoods Team At the Awards Ceremony.
Pic: Metropolitan Police

A New Cross policing team triumphed at the Commissioner’s Excellence in Total Policing Awards on Monday, winning two accolades for their “exceptional” work across the borough.

The community police team was awarded ‘Safer Neighbourhoods Team of the Year’, and Michele Narciso, one their Police Community Support Officers, was announced as PCSO of the year.

The team is known for its unusual tactics in catching criminals.

Police Sergeant Mark Alger, of the New Cross Safer Neighbourhoods Team said: “We have used a whole range of policing tactics, overt and covert to catch criminals. The covert tactics we have utilised have seen us take on a number of disguises, such as dressing up as builders, revellers, as well as homeless people.

“The disguises have allowed us to create a more uncomfortable environment in which to commit a crime. It’s a simple idea but it works and has provided us with the three or four seconds advantage over uniformed police officers, or even plain-clothes officers, in catching criminals.”

The team has significantly reduced crime on their ward during 2012. Rigorously enforcing the controlled designated drinking zone, they have confiscated over 200 items of alcohol and made 97 arrests.

PCSO Michele Narciso’s award recognises her achievements in developing strong links with the Chinese community in New Cross and Deptford. Aiming to build trust between the police and this minority community who have felt marginalised in the past, Narciso organised a four week course to inform local leaders in the Chinese community about the Metropolitan Police.

Her project has now been emulated across London and is recognised as good practice by the National Policing Improvements Agency.

Discussing the award-winning team, Chief Superintendent Russell Nyman, Lewisham Borough Commander said: “I am so proud of New Cross Safer Neighbourhoods Team. As well as winning the Safer Neighbourhoods Team of the Year, Michele won PCSO of the Year.”

“The work they have carried out is exceptional and is an excellent example of what our communities in Lewisham should expect us to deliver every day. There is great work taking place in Lewisham, and New Cross Safer Neighbourhoods Team demonstrates that. I am pleased for the team and indeed the borough.”

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