Police reassure public over “sex attacks”
The head of Wandsworth police has acted to reassure residents after reports of a sexual attacker at large in the borough.
An email circulated to council staff on July 18 warned them that there had been three knifepoint sexual assaults in health centres or GP surgeries in SW15 in July.
It warned staff not to work alone, to keep ground floor windows locked and to lock away knives. The NHS also warned its staff.
But Chief Superintendent David Chinchen said today there were only two attacks, and these took place in the Southfields area, not SW15.
He said the attacks took place in medical clinics on July 2 and 4, with a man threatening staff with a knife.
An investigation was launched after the first attack which was linked to the subsequent attack.
Chief Supt Chinchen said a man has since been arrested and is now on bail, with "appropriate conditions to ensure that there is no further risk to the public".
Responding to criticism that the police had failed to inform the general public about the risk he said: "At that time officers from our Safer Neighbourhood Teams attended and warned staff working in similar premises in Southfields and a wider area across the borough.
"The incidents reported were very specific and the risk to the wider public was judged to be very low.
"There has been no repeat of these incidents since 4 July 2012.
"I am satisfied that the warnings provided were proportionate to the risk and avoided raising alarm where frankly there was absolutely no risk to the vast majority of the public."
He also urged people to report crime by dialling 999 if the matter is urgent or 101 in other cases.