Besieged families plea to Tower Hamlets Council over Whitechapel drug dealers
- Credit: Mike Brooke
Families fighting a losing battle on their doorstep against criminals peddling illicit drugs openly in the streets of Whitechapel are desperately appealing to Tower Hamlets Council for help.
Addicts wait outside the families’ homes for cars regularly pulling up to drop off drugs any time in the day—even when children are passing by on their way to school.
One of the worst-hit streets is Gower’s Walk, off Commercial Road, where police are being called three times a day.
“It’s a really bad situation here,” bar manager Bradley Ludlow, 28, tells tomorrow’s East London Advertiser.
“I make two or three calls to the police on a daily basis. These people are in the street, on the pavement, directly outside our houses every single time you come home, in the morning or night-time.
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“They wait for the drop off from cars. I’ve reported it to police copious times, at least two or three times a day, and have four pages of crime-reference numbers from them and two pages of license-plate numbers.”
The families have sent a petition to the town hall calling for action. One neighbour signing the petition said: “We get drug addicts using my doorway, so I have to keep the grill gate closed to feel safe.”
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A deputation led by community activist Syeda Nasim urged councillors last Wednesday to install CCTV cameras and to reverse the cuts to Whitechapel neighbourhood police and support officers.
The petition stressed: “There is a shocking increase in crime and prostitution on our streets, with open drug dealing, begging and vagrancy.” It calls for cash from the council’s £409m reserve funds to be used for public security.
Syeda later told the Advertiser: “Dealers pull up on street corners and dish out drugs openly as early as 8.30am while children go to school. Addicts take injections in front of you and use the place as a toilet. It’s brazen.”
The council was working with police to keep the streets of Whitechapel safe despite reduction in police numbers, the deputation was assured.
Cabinet member Asma Begum said: “We cannot replace every police officer. We are putting all our resources into making the streets safer. About 20 Anti-Social Behaviour warnings have been issued.”
Yet the daily ‘drug drama’ is played out between dealers and addicts witnessed by householders like Mr Ludlow, his neighbours and their children.
“There are a lot of children living down this street and the drug-taking goes on in front of them,” he tells you.
“We see the dealers handing over drugs. A passenger in the car has them in his mouth, then reaches in and hands them to the addicts on the pavement who walk off and consume them further down the street.”
Meanwhile, police numbers have been reduced by 35 officers since 2016 who once patrolled the streets.