More than 100 people have been arrested in a Hackney Police drive to tackle late night crime in the Shoreditch area. In the last eight weeks, there have also been 429 stop and searches and police have broken up 209 fights.
The crackdown is part of Operation Lagana which is working to stamp out antisocial behaviour, theft, robbery and violence amidst the area’s thriving night time economy.
Using the hashtag #OPLAGANA, photographs of long knives, bags of drugs and nitrous oxide canisters have been posted on the Hackney police twitter feed.
Superintendent Martin Rolston told Eastlondonlines that out of the 429 stop and searches carried out since the operation began, 25 per cent resulted in the seizure of offensive weapons or drugs.
Rolston also said that local authorities have poured thousands of pounds into clearing up nitrous oxide canisters littered across the streets of Shoreditch.
Police have also been responding to reports that gangs of men have been targeting intoxicated and vulnerable people by “loitering near ATM machines, club entrances and smoking areas.”
The men have been offering to sell counterfeit drugs to party-goers, which are actually crushed up paracetamol, baking powder or Lemsip.
There have also been recurring reports of lurkers stealing people’s bank details by pretending to help them find a cashpoint. After assisting them to the machine and ascertaining the PIN number of their target, they are escorted away to be robbed.
Rolston said that Operation Lagana has been tackling this problem by parking police vehicles in hotspot areas where lurkers tend to congregate.
In a bid to strengthen confidence in the police, more than 400 visits to licensed venues have taken place since the operation began. During these visits, officers speak with venue owners about the police’s intentions to prevent, de-escalate and assist in breaking-up antisocial behaviour.