Chris Cully: The UK Riots – Smile! You’re On Camera!

Chris Cully
Chris Cully

Chris Cully, the Managing Director of risk & security management company, Dilitas gives his take on the Mets follow up action post the recent UK riots. Chris writes, “I bring your attention to Operation Withern, the operational name for the Met’s investigation of offences that occurred during and after the riots in August 2011.

To paraphrase John 4:23, “Cometh the hour, cometh the man”. So, onto the stage of Operation Withern strides Detective Chief Superintendent (DCS) Chris Greany.

(The Dilitas staff have suggested that from hereon the article should be read to the strains of 633 Squadron playing loudly in the background!)

DCS Greany has 25 years police experience, mostly within the Specialist Operations Directorate and its sister unit in the City of London police. Having recently returned to the Met on promotion, he has been placed in charge of Operation Withern.

DCS Greany is an affable chap, does not suffer fools and is a determined Copper of the old school. Thus witnessed when he was interviewed recently by BBC’s “London Tonight” programme. When asked what the Met was doing to arrest the rioters. No long wittering sound bite for DCS Greany; just this simple statement, “If you were involved you will be on camera. Someone will know you. We will find you and we will come and get you. Surrender before we get you!”

Immediately the sound of cheering and unbridled applause from “thief takers” and “coppers” of yesteryear thundered around London and the Home Counties.

As a man of his word, DCS Greany and his team, armed with search warrants, have been entering homes of identified and suspected rioters, searching properties and arresting them for “Withern” offences and all the other goodies uncovered on the “early morning drum spinning”. N.B For the non-thief takers amongst you that means, searching the property.

The relentless action by the Op. Withern team has indeed resulted in many a rioter surrendering to prevent their door turning to fire wood as the Met arrive unannounced to arrest and recover proceeds of crime.

Naturally, the spineless street criminal has willingly provided details of their co-rioters, thus resulting in the issue of more warrants and further early morning visits. The arresting machine churns relentlessly on at an ever-increasing speed.

The Op. Withern team’s statistics are exemplary and would make Inspector Gadget of Ruraltown ( get moist in the eye and lumpy in the throat with policing pride.

Op. Withern is investigating all offences that occurred as a result of the disorder, and includes offences that continued thereafter; During the period of 6th August to 24th October 2011, there were 3,713 criminal offences which are now being investigated by the Op. Withern team. They are also reviewing hundreds of hours of CCTV and other media images:

  • 1,299 burglaries of which 1,251 were non-residential burglaries
  • 1,046 criminal damage offences (28%) of which 167 were arson
  • 431 robberies (12%)
  • 2,951 arrests, of which 1,814 have resulted in charges

The arrests continue and DCS Greany reports that, like the legal system of yesteryear, those arrested are smartly charged with the appropriate offences, moved swiftly to court, where the majority of guilty pleas receive custodial sentences and those awaiting trial are remanded in custody.

DCS Greany also reports on the high quality of CCTV his team are recovering and reviewing stating that, “CCTV is being viewed relentlessly and everyday we identify more offenders and everyday we make more arrests”.

Thus, the last two months have shown the most dramatic drop in crime in the Met for many a long year, because recidivists, violent criminals and cancerous gangs are where they belong, behind bars.

Londoners take note, that those criminals who thought they could get away with it, that justice is soft, are going to be severely disappointed. With 2951 arrests so far and climbing, they can expect a knock at the door. Withern is resetting the balance.

Politicians from all sides of the House and ACPO, take notice. This is how crime is successfully fought and criminals brought to book.”

Dilitas Website