Met tackles domestic violence and hate crime in dawn raids

07 December 2011

New Scotland Yard

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has targeted suspected perpetrators of domestic violence and hate crime in dawn raids across the Capital

64 suspected perpetrators of domestic violence and hate crime have so far been arrested by the MPS in a series of raids carried out across the capital this morning.

"If you commit a crime and we have the evidence then we will put you before the courts."

Operation Athena saw officers executing warrants at addresses across London's 32 boroughs, proactively targeting dangerous and prolific offenders to bring those suspected of committing domestic violence and a range of hate crimes to justice.

The operation, a bi-annual event since 2000, aims to transfer the fear on to the offender and encourage more victims to come forward. Arrests this morning range from violence and common assault to breach of court orders.

The main thrust of today's action under Operation Athena is to combat violence against women, however it also encompasses hate and faith crime. This includes racist, homophobic, disability motivated crime and crimes against the vulnerable or elderly by members or their own family or carers.

Today's raids coincide with the MPS Domestic Violence publicity campaign reminding Londoners that 'You make the Call, We'll make it stop. Call 999'.

The campaign, which runs until Friday 30 December, once more draws the public's attention to the issue of domestic violence and is a powerful call to action which aims to elevate the emergency status of domestic violence through press and radio advertisements and online interactive film.

In an innovative press advertisement featuring in today's, Wednesday 7 December, Evening Standard readers are challenged by a message which shows through wallpaper from the next page, in a visual reflection of how the sounds of domestic abuse are experienced and overheard through next door walls.

In addition, the film, viewed from the setting of a 'neighbour's lounge', uses emotive sound effects of a domestic violence incident taking place through the wall between a couple in the next door flat - whilst presenting viewers with a choice whether to intervene and call emergency services by hitting 999 on their keyboards.

Overall, the campaign seeks to demonstrate that bystanders can stop domestic violence by dramatising the immediate effect of a 999 call, or if they choose not to take action, remind them of the potentially devastating consequences. Nearly one in five murders in London are accounted for by domestic violence.

Both Operation Athena and the domestic violence advertising campaign link in with the 16 days of international activity under International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (held on 25 November) to combat all forms of violence against women.

Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne, head of Territorial Policing for the MPS said: "These are vile crimes that target people when they are most vulnerable. Our approach is very simple - if you commit a crime and we have the evidence then we will put you before the courts.

"The campaign is about intervening if you see or hear domestic abuse by dialling 999. People should not be suffering in silence."

Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor for Policing, said: "There is nothing more intolerable than the hideous violence carried out behind closed doors by so called 'loved ones'.

"We've prioritised combating all violence against women, and as Operation Athena today highlights, we will continue to make London a hostile environment for perpetrators of these heinous crimes.

"Today's operation sends a clear message to all offenders: you will be caught, you will be arrested, and you will be brought to justice.

"Nobody should have to endure the trauma of domestic, racist or hate abuse and I urge victims to come forward and report incidents.

"I would also encourage friends, family and neighbours to speak to police on behalf of victims if needed so we can investigate and stop these criminals in their tracks."

Last financial year (April 2010 to March 2011) there were 48,419 domestic violence offences, 8,796 racist and religious hate crime offences and 1,335 homophobic offences.

The MPS has more than 500 specialist investigators working across the 32 Community Safety Units - one in each borough dedicated to domestic violence and hate crime- to respond to every report of abuse, while a central team of officers with specific expertise in domestic abuse matters provide advice and support to them and look at new initiatives which are then fed into policy and practice.

Effective partnerships are key to providing appropriate support and advice to victims of domestic abuse and the MPS is proud to work alongside many excellent agencies both statutory and voluntary to keeping victims and their children safe and to hold abusers accountable for their actions.

Local borough officers are involved in initiatives to encourage all our communities, including those who traditionally have been harder to reach, to report crime either to the police or through third party or non-police reporting sites.