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Officers and locals 'played their part' during prisoner search

Ch Supt Clair Kelland, in charge of policing for south-west London, reflects on the pivotal role local people and police played in the search for Daniel Khalife.

The chief superintendent tasked with managing the area that became the focus of a four-day search for prisoner escapee Daniel Khalife has praised local police and people played in his eventual capture.

Ch Supt Clair Kelland, in charge of policing for south-west London, said her officers and the local community "recognised their part in the big picture and played it with gusto".

The former soldier was arrested on a canal towpath in west London last Saturday morning, having escaped from HMP Wandsworth on September 6. He has since been charged with escaping from custody and will next appear at the Old Bailey on September 29.

While the operation was led by Counter Terrorism Command, Ch Supt Kelland emphasised the "phenomenal amount of crucial work" carried out by local officers.

“It was local response officers who raced to meet and search the prison van, after the alarm about his disappearance was initially raised – managing to do so in just over 20 minutes!

“Safer neighbourhoods teams stayed on past their shifts to help scour Richmond Park in the wee hours of the morning. Yet more local officers probed the boroughs’ nooks and crannies.

“They spoke with numerous locals in person and online, trying to identify possible leads and reassuring people that counter terrorism policing had assessed Daniel Khalife did not pose a threat to the public."

As for the community, she described its response as "exceptional".

Alongside sharing social media posts, Ch Supt Kelland said her team received more than 100 calls from Londoners who had information to aid the investigation.

“The information these people shared helped the Met to focus its enquiries and quickly close in on Daniel Khalife.

“I’m thankful to local residents for their patience amidst the disruption this large-scale operation brought to the area – their understanding made it easier for us to get on with the search."

She says this "collaborative working" approach is one way the Met aims to tackle various forms of crime under the New Met for London Plan.

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