Tower Hamlets Council paying for police recruits to tackle drug runners on its housing estates
- Credit: Mike Brooke
More police officers are being recruited in east London to tackle crime and drug dealing on Tower Hamlets council estates—paid for by the town hall.
Recruitment has begun for a taskforce to patrol estates through the night from September.
It follows the Met’s ‘Operation Leipzig’ two weeks ago when police joined East End community leaders on a weapons sweep which uncovered deadly knives and drugs paraphernalia—first revealed in the East London Advertiser.
“We have agreed to 14 new officers to work on Tower Hamlets housing estates,” Mayor John Biggs told councilors. “They will take on persistent offenders who make life a misery for residents.”
The council is paying out £2.5m over the next three years for more officers and security patrols.
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The Met’s Tower Hamlets Borough Commander Sue Williams said: “We are taking action against drug dealing because residents are deeply affected by those preying on vulnerable people.”
Police began searching council estates at Roman Road in Bethnal Green and Mile End’s Bancroft Estate two weeks ago, the first ‘sweep’ uncovering drug needles and knives hidden in bushes.
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They also arrested a 17-year-old youth found to be in Roman Road despite a court order banning him from the area for supplying drugs. Cannabis was found dumped in the street nearby.
The town hall cash deal for the new taskforce comes in the wake of Met Police budget cuts.
Council cabinet member Asma Begum said: “Government cuts have meant fewer police officers on our streets. That makes this more important.”
Families on the Bancroft estate are plagued by drug dealers from other areas peddling their cannabis in the back streets.
Their housing services manager Julian Smith told the Advertiser: “We need to work with the police to reduce anti-social behaviour after we uncovered a large knife purposely hidden. It could be a death sentence against a child.
“But we aim to ‘design’ crime out of the estate by creating a community garden where we’ve had anti-social behaviour and by putting up gates to block drive-through access.”
Bancroft holds an estate community meeting on July 31 where families meet the police over worries about drug dealers on their doorstep.