Five held in first 24 hours of police swoop on violent crime across east London
PUBLISHED: 19:00 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:23 25 March 2020
Arrests have been made in east London as part of a police national crackdown on violent crime during the pandemic crisis.
Police detained four teenagers and a man in his 20s on the first day of the ‘week of action’ running to Sunday, March 29.
Officers from the east London part of Operation Sceptre based at Bethnal Green, involving forces around the country, are using enforcement and preventative tactics in the Met’s Central East Command area covering Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney.
The squad under Tower Hamlets’ and Hackney’s joint borough commander, Det Chief Supt, Marcus Barnett, made five arrests in the first 24 hours where they seized a knife, a firearm, quantities of drugs and “a significant amount of cash” that police believe was gained from crime.
They used warrants and targeted intelligence-led stop and search.
An 18-year-old arrested on suspicion of six linked robberies in the Hackney area between February 25 and March 3 was held in police custody. Two teenagers aged 16 and 17 were arrested suspected of possessing drugs with intent to supply. The sixteen-year-old was charged and remanded in custody. Four others were kept in custody.
A man was detained for possessing a firearm. He was arrested after a car was stopped by officers from the Emergency Response team who could smell alcohol. The vehicle was searched and a gun was found in the boot.
A 24-year-old was arrested for possessing a knife after being chased in the street by officers. They used a taser twice during the arrest.
Weapons sweeps and high visibility patrols were also carried out.
Det Supt Mike Hamer who led the swoops: “This is a worrying and strange time for everyone with the threat of the pandemic.
“But this doesn’t mean we are curbing or reducing our focus on tackling crime in Tower Hamlets and Hackney.”
He warned: “It is policing as usual and we are as determined to target offenders. We have recovered weapons which can no longer be used on the streets. We will be doing the same again in the days that follow. Communities are crucial to helping us do this.”
Police are appealing for public support with information about crime, especially “anyone carrying a weapon or those carrying out revenge while putting others at risk”.
They suggest if people don’t want to talk to the police directly to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or Crimestoppers online, neither of which can trace the source, Help is also at hand from organisations like Knife Free and Fearless.
Commander Marcus Bennet took up his post when the Met’s new Central East Command Unit which came into force last October when Tower Hamlets and Hackney police divisions were merged and threw down the gauntlet on drug dealers to stay away from East London.
Put a foot wrong and he promised arrests and convictions to clean up the streets.
He told the East London Advertiser at the time: “We build up a picture of anyone coming here dealing drugs, find out who they are and start enforcement using arrest and conviction. It’s irrelevant where they live.”
Now his officers are carrying out his pledge as the net tightens on street drug dealers operating anywhere on his manor from the Thames at Wapping and the Isle of Dogs in the south to Hackney and Finsbury Park in the north.