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Community Safety

Violent gang ring leader imprisoned thanks to council CCTV

The ringleader of a violent gang which hurled bottles at police as they fought to control the outbreak of public disorder has been imprisoned for two years due to vital evidence captured by Lambeth Council’s CCTV network.

Police feared for their safety as they came under attack by Hakeem Walker who led a 15-strong gang of vandals which threw bottles and smashed the windscreen of a police van. The council’s digital footage was described by police as being of ‘exceptional quality’ which recorded the appalling level of violence used by the 18 year-old against officers in Coldharbour Lane. The footage was played back to an Inner London Crown Court judge as they considered his sentence on Monday (December 5). Walker, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty and requested to be sentenced that day.

Summing up, Judge Chapple, praised the statements provided by the council’s CCTV operators and for “representing every decent member of the public observing the mayhem being broadcast live to their living rooms.” The judge added that it was clear in “coming under attack” from a large group of looters and vandals that “police feared for their own and their colleagues’ safety.”

Detective Chief Insp, Mick Neville, who is in charge of all CCTV images from the disorder across London, said: “The council’s footage has played a major part in bringing a violent criminal to justice. This case shows how crucial CCTV evidence can be and the tremendous partnership work between the council and police.”

Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Cllr Rachel Heywood, added: “The borough’s CCTV network really proved its worth following the public disturbances and has been crucial in bringing those involved in violence and looting to justice. Our CCTV operators worked around the clock to assess the scenes of disorder and criminality gathered during this appalling night. I want to take this opportunity to thank them again for their professionalism and diligence.

“This mindless criminal attacked police as they worked to restore order to our community and that sickens me. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the police as part of the Safer Lambeth Partnership and our message is clear: if you come to Brixton to commit crime, vandalise property and intimidate people, we will do everything possible to make sure the full force of the law catches up with you.”

Lambeth Council upgraded its CCTV to a digital system this year, which made the process of identifying useful footage much quicker, and allowed the council to record and store many more hours of footage. The council’s operators handed Police a vast amount of footage from across the borough which has led to a number of convictions.

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