At approx 2250hrs on Thursday, 24 October an unmarked police car in Cherry Close, SW2 indicated for a white Citroen van to stop after the van had triggered an ANPR activation for involvement in the theft of mopeds.
The van then made off from the scene and a short pursuit occurred with a marked police vehicle. As the vehicles travelled along Brixton Hill, again the white van rammed the police vehicle. The van was then abandoned in St Saviours Road, SW2 and the occupants fled on foot.
The details of the van's occupants were circulated, including one particularly distinctive description of a grey haired man seen carrying a three-legged black dog.
Approximately an hour later, a Lambeth officer on patrol in Leigham Court Road, SW16 saw a blue Nissan car containing three men - one of them carrying a remarkably similar looking three-legged black dog. A quick check noted that this vehicle was registered to the same keeper as the white Citroen van.
Backup was called and the vehicle was stopped at a petrol station a short distance down the road.
Three men, aged 18, 42 and 67, were arrested for a variety of offences including GBH, failing to stop, possession of a bladed article and driving offences. They remain in custody at a south London police station.
Borough Commander for Lambeth, Chief Superintendent Matt Bell, said:
"I am thankful that the reckless actions of these people has not resulted in any serious injuries to my officers, but this incident once again demonstrates the dangerous work that police officers carry out on a daily basis.
"This series of events demonstrates the best qualities of Lambeth officers - from the bravery of those involved in the initial stop, the pursuit and arrests, to the eagle-eyed work of the officers who identified the suspects.
"I am immensely proud of their actions."
None of the officers were seriously injured during the incident.
Over-strength' Lambeth police defend officer cuts
Police officer numbers in Lambeth have fallen by 20 per cent over the past two-and-half years, it has been revealed, after the borough’s top cop claimed the borough had been “over-strength” for years.
A week after the police chief of neighbouring Southwark resigned and claimed the Metropolitan Police was in “financial crisis”, the latest figures for Lambeth show a drop of nearly 200 officers in two-and-a-half years – 1,038 in March 2010 to 846 at present.
Sergeants, including those who led the borough’s safer neighbourhood teams, also fell over the same period from 119 in 2010 to 88 at the beginning of October.
Chief Superintendent Matt Bell said Lambeth police had been “over strength” for years and now has just over the number of officers it should.
Chief Supt Bell said: “While there are fewer officers than in 2010-11, performance in the borough has improved this year, with reductions in burglary, robbery, serious youth violence, gun and knife crime.
“The Metropolitan Police Service remains committed to maintaining operational capability during the current financial climate and the challenges that presents.”
Last week, Southwark’s borough commander Charles Griggs announced his departure from the Met after only nine months in the job, saying the force faces a “financial crisis”.
He told colleagues: “Sadly, as part of the budget cuts in response to that crisis it has not been possible for the Met to honour their commitment to my three-year tenure.”
Lambeth and Southwark’s London Assembly member, Val Shawcross, said she feared the drop in police numbers could result in a resurgence of crime in Lambeth.
Ms Shawcross said: “It has been clear that police numbers have been falling last year and this year.
“I think it’s a real concern to the community.
“It’s a very poor situation at the moment and I fear it could get worse.”
She said the cash crisis and cuts were being “very badly managed” with no clear information coming from the Mayor of London’s office.
In Gipsy Hill the safer neighbourhood team has been halved since the start of the year because Sergeant Lee-Ann Mills is on maternity leave and two PCSOs have left without being replaced.
David Green, chairman of the Gipsy Hill Safer Neighbourhood Panel, said: “We must have police officers patrolling the streets and if this is being cut down they cannot be in two places at the same time.
“The impact is loss of confidence and the sense of personal wellbeing would be that much diminished.”