Dozens of homes across South-East London were raided by police today as part of a massive crackdown on drug dealing, petty crimes and anti-social behaviour.
At 5pm today the Metropolitan Police reported that 580 operations were carried out, during which there were: 264 premises searched, 278 suspects arrested, 39 weapons seized and 14 drugs houses closed down.
Large quantities of drugs, believed to be mainly cannabis, but also some Class A drugs, were seized during raids as part of Operation Hawk on properties in the EastLondonLines boroughs.
The operation began in Tower Hamlets when it was reported that 200 wraps of class A drugs had been found in a vacuum cleaner. Meanwhile in Croydon, £1000 and two kilograms of cannabis had been seized.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said Operation Hawk is part of his ‘war on crime’ agenda. It has been put into action following a series of radio ads launched on November 16 urging Londoners community to report crime and disorder to their Safer Neighbourhoods Teams.
He said: “It’s all about responding to local concerns and acting on them to crack down on crime rapidly and effectively.
“Operation Hawk demonstrates total policing at its best, working directly with the people we are here to protect.’’
During the day, the Met have been updating the city of their actions with live tweet updates at #ophawk and have been urging the public to report any concerns on criminal activity in their areas.
Up to 4000 Safer Neighbourhoods Officers with support from the Territorial Support Group and the Dogs Unit are executing search warrants in response to local intelligence on drug-dealers, anti-social behaviour and other crimes.
Howe said: “The idea is that we take our intelligence to a magistrate ask for a warrant and ‘put the doors in’ as quickly as possible right across London.
Here is a borough-by-borough breakdown, including some of the Twitter conversations:
The discovery of class A drugs in Tower Hamlets was one of the first actions to be reported when at nine this morning ‘@metpoliceuk’ tweeted:
“4 drug warrants executed in #Tower Hamlets. Class A drugs found as part of #ophawk.”
Immediately after this bulletin the Met said: “200 wraps of class A drugs found in a vacuum cleaner in #TowerHamlets this morning as part of #ophawk.”
This news comes shortly after the announcement that the Tower Hamlets borough is exceeding their attempt to arrest 365 drug dealers this year in their ‘dealer a day’ scheme. The boroughs Mayor, Luftur Rahman said: “The dealer-a-day target is an important measure of our work to tackle drug dealing.”
Shortly following these events attention turned to Lewisham when at 11am it was tweeted that nine warrants had been executed by Lewisham borough Safer Neighbourhood teams. In a later update it emerged:
“Man arrested for possession of cannabis following drugs warrant executed by #Lewisham Central SNT under #ophawk.”
At 5pm new warrants were released in a search for weapons in the New Cross area. “Officers from Telegraph Hill SNT conducting weapons sweep in #Lewisham as part of #ophawk.”
By midday more drug related offences were being reported in Hackney as metpoliceuk tweeted:
“3 arrested for drug offences in #Hackney and 1 detained for ASBO breach as part of #ophawk.”
Two hours later: “address believed to be used for buying & selling drugs closed & 1 arrested for possession with intent to supply in #Hackney under #ophawk.”
At 3pm the following tweet emerged from Croydon: “Officers make 2 arrests and seize £1000 cash and at least 2 kilos of skunk in #Croydon as part of #ophawk.”
The Met’s frequent bulletins generated huge public response about the actions of Operation Hawk. One tweeter commented: “An excellent example of public reassurance and proactive use of social media #ophawk”.
However, there were mixed responses to the one-day clampdown as shown by one tweeter: “#ophawk @metpoliceuk appears to have a huge element of propaganda about it. Suppose we must wait to see what and whose agenda it reflects.”