Camden loses its third police commander in as many years

Most senior police officer leaves role after just 12 months

Thursday, 4th January 2018 — By William McLennan


Dr Iain Raphael

CAMDEN’S most senior police officer is to be replaced, as she becomes the third borough commander to leave in as many years.

Catherine Roper, who only took command when the borough’s force merged with neighbouring Islington 12 months ago, will be on an intensive training course for the next three months, before being replaced permanently in April.

Detective Chief Superintendent Roper was said to be “very impressive” during her time in Camden, but the decision by the Met to move her on while the borough merger is still in its early stages has been criticised. She took over from DCS Penny Banham in December 2016, who had replaced DCS Richard Tucker in October 2015.

Catherine Roper

Highgate Green Party councillor Sian Berry, who is deputy chairwoman of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee, said: “It’s a terrible time to be replacing another borough commander, especially while we are piloting the merged borough model, which has definitely been rocky in a number of ways, and with problems that are uniquely bad in our area like moped crime.”

She added: “I thought that Chief Superintendent Roper was very impressive when I met her and saw her working with residents and hope the leadership that replaces her will be strong and immediately as effective, because we really need it.”

Superintendent Nick Davies will take over on a temporary basis until April, when he will be replaced by DCS Iain Raphael, who currently leads policing in Enfield.

DCS Raphael, who holds a doctorate in criminal justice from the University of Portsmouth, joined the Met in 1993 and took his first posting as a borough commander in July last year.

He led the police’s anti-burglary MetTrace project, which saw the distribution of thousands of kits of SmartWater, allowing people to mark their valuable with a unique code that could be traced if stolen. The project, which won industry awards, is said to have led to a decrease of 3,000 burglaries over three years.

DCS Raphael said the scheme “highlights both the importance and impact [that] crime prevention and private/public approaches can deliver and we need to do more of this”. His doctorate project was an analysis of the efficacy of this work, entitled “Cooling hot property?”

DCS Roper said: “It has been an absolute honour serving the people of Camden and Islington. I am moving on knowing that the local policing of these incredible boroughs is in extremely capable hands, but I will still miss working with the local communities, partners and my teams who collectively have dedicated significant time and energy to support the most vulnerable and to relentlessly pursue anyone causing harm to our boroughs. I would like to thank everyone for their help and support.”

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