7:20am Monday 1st February 2010
By Ben Thompson
Stab-proof vests are being issued to littering, graffiti and fly-tipping monitors after a Merton Council employee was stabbed while on patrol in Mitcham.
The enforcement officer was taking photos of an alleyway in Gorringe Park Avenue when two white men aged about 18 demanded money, before one plunged a knife into the victim’s side where it remained as they fled the scene.
He has since made a full recovery but police are still hunting those responsible for the daylight attack on November 20 at 8.45am.
Merton Council said it believes the attack was random and not a result of the officer carrying out enforcement duties. However it has pledged to constantly review its policy on stab-proof vests.
In 2008, Wimbledon street cleaners were issued with the vests amid growing concern over the level of drunken disorder in the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights.
Merton Council cabinet member for community safety and engagement, Councillor Henry Nelless, said: “We take the security of our staff very seriously and make every effort to ensure they work in as safe an environment as possible. This attack was random, and not a result of the officer carrying out enforcement duties.
Councillor David Simpson, cabinet member for environment and leisure services, added: “As a precaution, we have decided to kit out all of the council's enforcement and inspection officers with the latest stab-proof vests. Our primary responsibility is to our officers who work around the clock keeping Merton safe and in good order.”
Wimbledon CID is still investigating the incident and have urged anyone who recognises the computer efit, or people with information, to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Detective Constable Will van der Reijden said: “This vicious attack on a local authority worker, just going about his normal business, was a cowardly assault on an innocent man.”
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