38 per cent decrease in violent knife crime following Operation Langdale and St James Street pilot

21 March 2019

After a disturbing rise in violent crime involving offensive weapons between 2016 and 2018, Waltham Forest Council spearheaded an innovative partnership, working alongside the Metropolitan Police to reduce the level of criminal activity and anti-social behaviour (ASB), targeting Walthamstow’s High Street and St James Street ward, named Operation Langdale.

Operation Langdale ran alongside a council-led initiative named St James Street pilot from 1 October to 31 December, 2018.

Initial evidence suggests that Operation Langdale and St James Street pilot helped to achieve a reduction in serious violence. In the four months from October 2018 to January 2019, there was a reduction of 60 per cent in GBH and Wounding (in contrast for the same offences, as seen in previous years).

After peaking in 2018, there is also now a reduction in the number of knife crime offences across the borough. In the last 6 months (September to February) there were 33 fewer knife crimes with injury compared to the same period in the previous year – a decrease of 38 per cent.

In early October 2018, the police carried out covert operations targeting gang activity and were able to report the following outcomes: 70 arrests made since the start of the operation; 15 knife seizures and a recorded 10 per cent decrease in knife crime. There are currently 17 people awaiting sentencing as a result of this operation.

Waltham Forest’s ASB Team conducted joint patrols enforcing the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) and assisted with addressing other anti-social behaviour in the St James Street area. ASB Officers served Community Protection Warnings (CPW) and Community Protection Notices (CPN) on those causing a nuisance. A total of 71 CPWs and 6 CPNs were issued during the operation.

Neighbourhood officers dealt with environmental issues such as fly tipping, litter, improvement to lighting and overgrown vegetation.

Referrals were made for drug and alcohol support and St Mungo’s homelessness outreach team to engage with individuals who were considered vulnerable.

Those arrested by the police were subject to a range of penalties, ranging from Criminal Behaviour Orders, Civil Injunctions and Premise Closure Orders, as well as potential custodial sentences for serious offences. The council is also looking at breaches of tenancy terms and conditions, and property licenses, for those involved in criminal activity.

Councillor Ahsan Khan, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Operation Langdale and the St James Street pilot have shown how working together across different agencies is keeping people safe, removing dangerous people and weapons from our streets. We are now looking to roll out this partnership in other areas in the borough.”

North East Borough Commander Richard H. Tucker said: “The success of Operation Langdale shows the value of a high-visibility police presence in an area affected by high levels of crime. Our partnership with the council sends the message that there is no tolerance for anti-social behaviour and criminal activity in the area.”

St James Street pilot will continue to address the long-term issues at the location, with the ASB Team continuing to carry out joint patrols with the police to gather intelligence and deal with street-based ASB. The Neighbourhood Team will continue to patrol the area and deal with environmental crimes when necessary.

Residents are invited to report anti-social behaviour via email to asbteam@walthamforest.gov.uk.


*The source of stats for these are publicly available: