Don’t come to our East End manor, new police commander warns drug dealers

Det Chief Supt Marcus Barnett... new Met Police borough commander for Tower Hamlets and Hackney. Pic

Det Chief Supt Marcus Barnett... new Met Police borough commander for Tower Hamlets and Hackney. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke/13Aug2019

The gauntlet has been thrown down to drug dealers by the new Met Police borough commander for Tower Hamlets.

Put a foot wrong in the East End and he promises arrests and convictions to clean up the streets.

"We build up a picture of anyone coming here dealing drugs," Det Chief Supt Marcus Barnett told the East London Advertiser at the start of his third week in the post.

"We find out who they are and start on enforcement, using arrest and conviction. It's irrelevant where they live."

Commander Barnett operates from Bethnal Green police station running the Met's new Central East Command Unit which came into force last October when Tower Hamlets and Hackney police divisions were merged.

His command district from the Thames waterfront at Wapping and the Isle of Dogs in the south stretches to Finsbury Park in the far north.

Marcus works with Tower Hamlets and Hackney local authorities in a drive to improve the environment that he hopes would "plan out" any opportunity for drug deals on the streets.

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"I can go out and do enforcement all day in crime areas and take out a problem like a drugs market," he assures.

"But it's all just going to come back again if we don't look at the root causes of what's driving that market.

"Street lights not working creates dingy, dark corners. Someone coming into the area who sees a well lit, well policed, well-looked after environment won't have the opportunity for anti-social activity.

"It's the environment that we create that lets drugs happen or not."

Tower Hamlets Council has already been using town planning to close certain streets to prevent drug dealers slipping into housing estates out of sight. It forces them back in the open and onto streets where they can be spotted more easily.

The Met is using the council's CCTV street cameras to track suspect cars being used for kerbside drug deals.

Police close in on the dealers and catch them red-handed, leading to court convictions which is hoped is making the East End less attractive to criminals.