'On yer bike': Police tackle antisocial behaviour with cycle patrols

Weapons sweep in Bethnal Green Gardens

Weapons sweep in Bethnal Green Gardens - Credit: LBTH

Parks and open areas are being searched for stashed weapons and bike patrols are being used to catch drug dealers on the streets in a week-long operation across the East End. 

A taskforce, which is between the Met Police and Tower Hamlets Council, is carrying out sweeps in parks, gardens, open spaces and wasteland looking for weapons that have been hidden away for use.

This tactic has proved successful in recent years in the war on knife crime. 

Drug dealers are also being targeted by cycling patrols, which aim to disrupt the illicit sales, with the Met warning that Public Spaces Protection orders will be enforced and on-the-spot fines issued.  

Extra patrols are also planned this coming weekend (July 24 and 25) — the first after Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted — especially during the night-time economy around Brick Lane.    

“We’re taking action with extra patrols to tackle antisocial behaviour,” Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs said. “It’s a top concern for people and we’re taking the opportunity to talk to them about these issues.”  

The week of action is part of an overall local authority strategy that includes raids on shops selling nitrous oxides or under-the-counter tobacco that has been smuggled in without customs tax.

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Clearing street graffiti and litter is also on the council’s agenda. 

Street patrol launching the first open public briefing on the Isle of Dogs

Street patrol launching the first open public briefing on the Isle of Dogs - Credit: LBTH

Police and council officials are also holding daily street briefings to give the public a chance to talk about their concerns. 

The first briefings were held at Bethnal Green Underground station and at Isle of Dogs police station on July 19. A “police engagement” bus was also parked outside Mile End Park Leisure Centre.

Deputy Mayor Sirajul Islam, the cabinet member responsible for community safety, said: “We’re working all year round to tackle antisocial behaviour — but this week is about speaking to people and going the extra mile to make sure they know how to report issues that can have a real impact on feelings of safety.

"We will take action against those whose negatively impact people’s lives.”  

A “police engagement” bus in Mile End Park outside the leisure centre to meet the public  

A “police engagement” bus in Mile End Park outside the leisure centre to meet the public - Credit: LBTH

The action week is aimed at making it easier to report antisocial behaviour on the streets. 

Tower Hamlets Council is also urging anyone wanting to get involved in their community to join a ward panel of residents associations and community groups with the Met Police Safer Neighbourhood teams.   

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