Fifteen policemen respond to handbag snatch

Fifteen policemen respond to handbag snatch

29th March 2006

Operation handbag: A dozen police officers arrive at the scene of the crime by foot, bicycle, car and van

Police hurried to the scene from all directions.

Soon the suspect was surrounded by more than a dozen officers who had arrived on foot, by bicycle and in three marked police cars and a van.

The busy London high street came to a standstill to watch what was obviously a major operation.

Were they witnessing the foiling of a bomb plot? A kidnapping? A bank heist?

In fact, the crime was rather more mundane than any of those - a handbag snatch.

A man had been seen jogging down the street and two community support officers had set off in hot pursuit when, almost out of nowhere, back-up arrived.

The man was arrested by two officers who arrived at speed in a marked police car.

Two more cars arrived for good measure. And a van was called to the incident in Kensington Church Street, West London, to take the suspect to the police station for questioning. In all, there were 15 police and community support officers on the scene dealing with the incident.

Officers found a handbag, watch and carrier bag containing personal items dumped by the road.

A small crowd had gathered to watch the drama, which lasted about five minutes.

'Over-the-top response

One onlooker said: "It was unbelievable, I've never seen such an over-the-top response in all my life. At one point they had him up against a wall. There were two patrol cars there and a BMW pursuit car comes by.

"The only thing missing was the force helicopter.

"They were clearly embarrassed by the sheer number of police there. People were amazed and making comments, like: "I wonder how many police would be round if my house was burgled?" Nothing surprises you these days."

The incident happened at around 3pm on Monday outside the shop Designer Bargains.

Owner Liz Ward was told the man was arrested for snatching a handbag and police had also found three women's wallets.

She said: "There was a huge commotion outside and I just thought, what the hell is going on here?

"I thought it had to be something big. We don't have such a big crime problem around here, but you don't expect to see so many police dealing with a handbag snatcher."

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said part of the street was closed due to a ruptured water main and officers were in the area dealing with that at the time.

"I imagine that's why there were so many officers in the vicinity," she said.
It just wasn't that crook's day.

Sounds like it might have been safer grabbing someone's purse at the police station. Could it have been any worse for the bad guy?
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