17 arrested in Newham dawn raids linked to drug dealing and recent spate of violence
- Credit: Archant
Police took out a whole tier of suspected senior gang members in one go with a series of dawn raids across Newham this morning.
More than 200 officers raided 20 properties, arresting 17 suspected drug dealers between the ages of 18 and 43.
Police believe some of the targets are linked to the recent spate of violence in the borough.
“In recent months, gang-related crime has been responsible for a number of shootings and stabbings in the borough and this morning’s raids are part of our plan to bring the individuals responsible for this violence to justice,” said Chief Supt Ade Adelekan.
“I hope when people in Newham wake up today and see the number of addresses we have been to and the amount of people that are in custody, they are reassured that we are committed to ridding the streets of drug dealers,” he added over a cup of tea after the raids.
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The Recorder accompanied officers on this morning’s raids, which police say are the culmination of almost a year’s work.
Crews of around 20 specialist police units attended the addresses just after 5am. All exits from the houses were sealed before the doors were smashed down and officers rushed inside, apprehending suspects before they had an opportunity to arm themselves or escape.
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Significant amounts of drugs and cash were recovered, plus a gun. Suspects were arrested for a range of drug supply offences, plus one firearm offence.
The officers wore heavy-duty protective gear and carried shields fitted with tasers.
But according to Chief Supt Adelekan, the dealers “should be thankful it’s us coming to break the door down and not a rival gang member.”
At one raid in Elizabeth Road, East Ham, a man was seen shrieking out of his bedroom window after getting a rude awakening from police bludgeoning down his door.
At both addresses visited by the Recorder, police had dogs to contend with as well as suspects.
Another concern was the welfare of children living at the addresses. At one of the houses, a young girl could be seen peering from the window while police officers arrested the adults inside.
Specially trained officers then step in to reassure and calm them. Police will work with schools and social services in an effort to ensure they are properly looked after.
This morning’s operations were about “bringing to justice those at the head of criminal networks linked to supplying the Class A drugs that have fuelled some of the violence we have seen”, Chief Supt Adelekan added.
He said drug gangs are the biggest concern of people in Newham and it is important the police are seen taking affirmative action to help allay fears.
“For those drug dealers still out there this is really just the beginning - we will seek them out and we will bring them to justice,” he said.
“What I’m simply saying to the community is we are trying our hardest to make sure we do everything we possibly can to bring those people to justice.”
It is hoped that taking out the gang members will act as a deterrent to others and the borough will see a reduction in crime.
Detective Inspector Jim McKee, from the Trident Central Gangs Unit, said: “This proactive operation is part of Trident’s ongoing work to disrupt drug dealing operation in London, which blight communities across the capital.
“Much of the violence seen on the streets of Newham can be traced back to disputes between rival gangs involved in the distribution of Class A drugs.”
The 20 raids took place mostly in Newham, with properties in East Ham, The Royal Docks, Manor Park, Canning Town, Plaistow, Silvertown, Forest Gate and Upton Park. Properties were also raided in Leytonstone, Romford and Wimbledon.