Breaking LONDON Tower Hamlets

A loaded firearm, an 11-inch machete and drugs were just some of the items seized by officers during a crackdown on violence in central London

Officers also made 46 arrests during operation Aldrin, proactive work to disrupt offenders using the road networks to enable them to commit crimes.

From Wednesday, 28 October to Sunday, 1 November, dedicated teams were deployed in Central East (Tower Hamlets and Hackney), Central North (Camden and Islington) and Central South (Southwark and Lambeth). They used automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology as well as setting up dedicated stop sites on London Bridge and Clapham Common, where they stopped vehicles of interest.

During the four-day operation officers from the Violent Crime Taskforce, Operation Venice, the Roads and Transport Policing Command’s Road Crime Team, Project Servator and City of London Police came together. They were also supported by local BCU officers, Special Constables, dog units and officers specially trained in spotting those with criminal intent.

Officers were on proactive patrol, looking out for suspicious behaviour and utilised intelligence from vehicles linked to drugs, violence and other criminality.

A total of 73 vehicles were searched resulting in:
• 46 arrests for offences such as possession with intent to supply class A drugs, possession of an offensive weapon and money laundering
• 17 individuals referred to DIVERT – an intervention programme aimed to reduce re-offending
• 16 drug seizures; and
• Five weapons taken off the streets

On one occasion on Thursday, 29 October a vehicle  known for drug dealing activated an ANPR camera in the Embankment area. Officers stopped the car and had cause to search the car, the driver and passenger. During the search around 50 wraps of cocaine and heroin were found along with £6,200 in cash. Both men were arrested for possession with intent to supply class A drugs and money laundering.

On Saturday, 31 October officers were in the vicinity of London Waterloo station, an area known for robberies, and saw two men acting suspiciously. When challenged, one man was found to be carrying a lock-knife. The knife was seized and the man was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon.

Chief Inspector Jack May-Robinson of the VCTF said: “This is the first year we have run operation Aldrin and it’s with huge success. The aim is to reduce the number of weapons on our streets and disrupt offenders from carrying out their criminal activity, ultimately it keeps communities safe.

“This huge effort forms part of our Autumn Nights activity, a three-week intensification on existing efforts within the Met to prevent and bear down on violence in all its forms.

“We know now that nights are darker anti-social behaviour and violence can increase, but high visibility, proactive operations like this ensure we are relentless in our pursuit to reduce crime in our city.

“I’d like to thank all of the officers who worked long, late hours into the early mornings to arrest offenders, remove weapons and drugs from our streets and instil confidence in our communities.”

Communities have a vital role to play in tackling violent crime and we urge anyone who may have information to tell us so that we can tackle violence together. We need information about a crime or those who carry a weapon, or those that exploit people for gain or revenge while putting young people’s lives at risk. Community intelligence can be used to great effect to detect and also prevent crime, keeping London safe and saving young lives.

For those not comfortable in speaking to the police, Crimestoppers is a totally, independent charity. They do not ask your name or trace your call. Anyone worried that a family member or friend might be involved in criminality, or vulnerable to people who may be violent, can visit KnifeFree or the NSPCC websites for help and advice. You might be able to help them find a way out.