Quantities of illegal drugs and cash were seized by the police in East London during a series of early morning raids.
The raids were part of the joint Metropolitan Police and Tower Hamlets Council run Operation Continuum that began in 2019 to crack down on drug-supply, make neighbourhoods cleaner and safer, and to reduce fear of violence.
In raids this month, police have seized around £13,000 in cash from one private address, along with multiple wraps of assumed Class A drugs from four of addresses across Tower Hamlets and Hackney.
The police raids resulted in 16 people, aged between 18 and 53, being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
According to the Met, throughout the past year, the operation has continued to drive down drug-related criminality in the east London area, despite the apparent policing challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a result,Operation Continuum has seen 12 people sentenced to a collective total of more than twenty years’ imprisonment with many still awaiting sentencing due to Covid-19 court delays.
Detective Superintendent Mike Hamer, Gold Commander for the operation, said: “Continuum is here to stay. We have seen the disruptive effect that our joint activity can have on the drug dealers and the positive feedback we have received from our local residents.
He added, “Drugs are inextricably linked to a high proportion of violent criminality – a key operational priority for the Met – and we will therefore continue to target perpetrators; seeking to bring them to justice.”
In the year since March 2020, when the pandemic began – the operation has executed around 103 search warrants, made 145 arrests for drug-related offences, and 123 persons have been charged bringing the total number of charges to 259. An additional 12 people have been sentenced to a total of 22 years between them, with the remainder awaiting sentence, plea, or trial. Approximately 1600 police officers have been involved in the operation.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Tackling drug dealing and making our neighbourhoods safer continue to be top priorities for the council. Our Operation Continuum partnership work with local police has seen some fantastic results over the last year and these latest raids once again demonstrate the progress we’re making towards getting drug dealers off our streets.
“We will not stand for criminal activity in our borough and will continue to work with police partners to disrupt local drug markets and target those intent on breaking the law.”