Joint anti-drugs task force makes 114 arrests in five weeks

Met Police’s ‘Operation Continuum’ tackles Bethnal Green drug dealers. Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

A joint police and local authority campaign against drug dealers in Tower Hamlets has led to 114 arrests within the last five weeks, it has been disclosed.

The Metropolitan Police revealed that in Tower Hamlets within the last five weeks Operation Continuum has led to police making 114 arrests, serve 27 warrants, seize £10,000 of illicit cash, seize six suspects’ cars, undertake 317 weapon sweeps and patrol 65 streets.

Local resident and lawyer, Nilhima Begum, said: “It’s relieving to know that the drug problem in our home is finally being dealt with in a sophisticated and rational way… It has become inevitable that the police and council had to step in due to the growing demand in the drug market, and especially in our streets.

I know that there’s been a problem with dealings around local schools. My mum worries for my younger brother’s safety. However, she is extremely grateful, among the rest of my family, of the police’s progression in tackling these problems. Hopefully, one day, our streets will be rid of these problems and we can finally step out feeling safe again.”

Police have also undertaken 300 ‘stop-and-search’ incidents. Most of these searches were due to surveillance using the council’s CCTV network, which allowed police to carry out raids in order to locate street drug-deals and help to track dealer’s cars.

A council spokesperson said: “Operation Continuum is here to stay and we will continue the local Partnership Operations in 2019, refining our tactics to improve the work we do and to inform the public more effectively.”

The operation was launched by the multi-agency Community Safety Partnership in December 2017  in response to  reports by local residents of drug dealing, drug use and associated criminal activity.

Detective Chief Inspector, Mike Hamer said: “This is the culmination of months of covert police activity. We’ve targeted dealers mainly around Bethnal Green.

Drug dealing is linked to violent crime on our streets – so we’ll deal robustly with those who peddle drugs, exploit young people and target the vulnerable for the sole purpose of financial gain, often leading to violence.”

The council said that in a recent operation staff worked out of hours monitoring a location on the Isle of Dogs where they identified drug dealing activity and alerted the police. Thanks to a tip-off from the public, this car pictured below was seized because it was believed to been used in drugs dealing.

Suspect drug-dealer car being seized. Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

Council’s street cameras were used to identify and follow the cars of suspected drug-dealers  which led to further arrests.

Mayor John Biggs said: “We’ll use our powers to clamp down on criminal activity to get drug dealers off our streets.”

The police and council are still encouraging the public to continue reporting concerns of drug dealing and use, by calling 999 in an emergency, 101 for anti-social behaviour or reporting online to the police or online to the council. The public can call Crimestoppers to report any crime anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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