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Met boss leads 80 police on raid with Tasers & chopper ..but the suspect's already held in the nick
By Jon Clements Crime Correspondent 18/03/2009
"This is good news and a good result. We got our man after all."
"I want the public to feel that the cop owns the street on their
behalf." - Met. Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.
A helicopter hovers overhead as 80 riot police await the signal from Britain's top cop in a dawn raid on a burglary ring yesterday.
Officers armed with stunguns and a battering ram crash through the door and storm inside... only to find the suspected ringleader was not home.
And in fact, the wanted man had already been arrested by beat bobbies following an alleged break-in earlier that night.
But despite the huge waste of time and resources, Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson tried to remain positive: "This is good news and a good result. We got our man after all."
And Sir Paul a brushed off the disappointment of missing the man: "That's policing. The suspect was not there, but that's the nature of police work."
He joined the raid, on addresses in South London and Surrey, in one of his first appearances on the front line since his appointment last month.
Operation Calderwood was targeting a gang which broke into dozens of homes seeking keys for luxury cars such as Audis and BMWs.
The suspected ringleader was held shortly after 1.30am after an alleged break-in at a house in Kingston, Surrey.
While Sir Paul was being briefed about the swoop, the man was being booked into police custody.
Two women were arrested during yesterday's raid in Croydon, South London, and police seized £15,000 cash and an Aston Martin DB7. Nine suspects have already been arrested in what Sir Paul called "bread and butter" policing. He added: "This was the culmination of a long-running operation which has seen several people arrested.
"This was all about catching villains and making people feel safer in their homes.
"I want the public to feel that the cop owns the street on their behalf."
The commissioner admitted he was worried about the bungled police inquiry into taxi rapist John Worboys.
The cabbie may have attacked hundreds of women while he remained at large.
Sir Paul said: "I have looked at the report into this case and I am deeply concerned about what I have seen."
The suspect was not there, but that's the nature of police work
MET'S SIR PAUL
Sir Paul Stephenson: Public confidence the police target
The head of Scotland Yard Sir Paul Stephenson said too many Home Office targets has created a police culture where "everything's a priority and nothing is a priority".