SEVENTEEN ARRESTS have been made since 1st January in a joint operation – “Operation Continuum” between Tower Hamlets Council and Tower Hamlets police. There is no explanation of what “Operation Continuum” is.
In the second anti-drug operation held under Operation Continuum, seven dawn raids took place in Stepney on 8th February. As a result, nine people were arrested and police recovered Class A and Class B drugs, stolen property and money. After the raids, police conducted a weapons sweep in the area – with members of the public adding to the numbers of those searching for weapons.
Work in the Stepney area since 25th January has led to eight arrests (in addition to the nine on 8th February). There will be further “enforcement work” now, which the authorities hope will lead to further arrests.
The Council also says that joint operations have led to the recovery of £27,000 in cash and a handgun, while 22 Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) warnings have been issued. It is not clear whether these figures include the money and property seized on 8th February or whether they were part of Operation Continuum.
The joint operations were conducted with the police and other agencies, including Tower Hamlets Homes, and the Council says that this work includes “intelligence and covert surveillance”. Who knew Tower Hamlets Homes was involved in covert surveillance of its residents?
The first operation of Operation Continuum took place in Shadwell in December and resulted in 123 ASB warnings, the recovery of £20,000 in cash and three arrests a day (there is no information on how many days were involved). In addition, 56 people were given “help to address substance misuse issues”. That information was carried out in large part on the basis of information gathered from the Council’s CCTV.
A number of people have commented on Operation Continuum.
DCI Mike Hamer of Tower Hamlets Police said, “Operation Continuum is a response to local community concern regarding drug crime and anti-social behaviour. We are building on the success of our last joint operation in Shadwell to deliver an equally effective operation in Stepney and already have results that demonstrate this.”
John Biggs, Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said, “We are determined to tackle drug dealing and the problems it causes our communities. We have listened to our residents and we are working with the police and other partners to share intelligence for these raids. Residents are at the heart of our approach.”
In a shock statement, he went on to announce, “That is why Tower Hamlets Council will have frontline workers in the area over the next week to support our young people with positive activities to do, helping anyone that is homeless or suffering from drug addiction. We will also be working with residents to make physical changes to these neighbourhoods to discourage crime and make our streets safer.”
There was no statement on where the funding for this was coming from. There was also confusion over why support work was being targeted at young people on a temporary basis – rather than being delivered through a permanent youth service. And if the support is being delivered by the permanent youth service, why does it need a top-up?
Councillor Asma Begum, Cabinet Member for Community Safety added, “Our partnership work maximises our resources and will help to stamp out drug dealing. Residents have told us where there are hotspots of drug dealing and crime, and we know that through partnership work with the police and responsible landlords such as Tower Hamlets Homes we can be Safer Together.”
•Operation Continuum continues the “dealer a day” approach carried out by Lutfur Rahman’s Administration.
•Read more about it:
More drugs seized in Tower Hamlets dealer a day operations