Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe has encouraged people to be brave when they are confronted by anti-social or criminal behaviour on the streets.
Speaking on Premier Christian Radio this morning, Commissioner Howe said "good gangs" could help curb bad behaviour.
“Every day, somebody does, and says ‘I’m not standing for that...I’m going to take a step forward’," he said.
The Commissioner was speaking on Premier as part of the Met's Gang Awareness Month.
He said people should intervene if they felt strong enough to do so, noting that a simple "stop that" could be enough to deter someone.
“We’ve all got to play our part,” he said.
When people intervene, the victim is "not on their own", he said.
"Then they know they’ve got a witness. Then they know there might be consequences. So the very least you can do is to say ‘I’m not moving from here. I’m going to get some help’. A gang, a good gang, can have a great effect on a terrible situation.”
However, the Commissioner admitted that it was sometimes "really difficult" to intervene if the other person appeared stronger or was carrying a weapon.
"I think you have to be very, very careful. The older we are, or sometimes the less strong we are, the less able we are to intervene.”
Asked why he joined the police force, the Commissioner said he never liked bullies.
“One of the things the police officer’s job gives you is the duty and privilege of intervening when a bully thinks he’s going to get away with it," he said.
"That’s whether they’re stealing something, assaulting someone, anti-social behaviour.
"I think it’s a great opportunity, on behalf of others, to step-in and do something about it,” he said.
Be brave in face of anti-social behaviour, says Met Commissioner
Published 13 September 2012