Breaking LONDON Tower Hamlets

Following another hit day under the Met’s highly successful ‘Operation Continuum’, a further 16 people have been arrested for drug-supply offences in Tower Hamlets and Hackney

The new arrests bring the combined total to 145 arrests for similar offences since March 2020.

On the morning of Wednesday, 3 March search warrants were executed simultaneously at addresses across the boroughs and in wider east London.

Officers seized around £13k in cash from one venue, along with multiple wraps of suspected Class A drugs from four of the addresses.

The police activity resulted in 16 people, aged between 18 and 53, being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

All of those arrested were taken into custody across east London, where they remain at this time.

Over the past year, the highly successful operation has continued to drive down drug-related criminality in the east London area, despite the obvious policing challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The drugs market is strongly connected to violent crime and tackling this is the Met’s top priority.

Overall, the operation has seen 12 people sentenced to a combined total of more than 22 years’ imprisonment with many still awaiting sentencing due to Covid-19 court delays.

The ongoing operation was originally established in Tower Hamlets in 2019 to crack down on drug-supply, make neighbourhoods cleaner and safer, and to reduce fear of violence.

It is a partnership operation with the MPS, local authority and housing associations, and is the Central East Basic Command Unit’s response to tackling drug-related violence across Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

All Operation Continuum warrants this year have been supported by officers from the local Central East Basic Command Unit, Taskforce Command and local Gangs Taskforce, as well as officers from the Met’s Dog Unit.

Since March 2020 – a period which marked the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic – the operation has seen:

103 search warrants executed.

145 arrests for drug-related offences.

123 persons charged bringing the total number of charges to 259.

12 people sentenced to a total of 22.75 years between them, with the remainder awaiting sentence, plea, or trial.

Approximately 1600 officers have been involved in the operation from March 2020 – March 2021.

Detective Superintendent Mike Hamer, the Gold Commander for the operation, said: “Continuum is here to stay. We have seen the disruptive effect that our joint activity can have on the drug dealers and the positive feedback we have received from our local residents.

“The successes of Continuum have been in the considerable results – the arrests, convictions, drug and cash seizures – but also the galvanising effect that this has had across the partnership. We have found that through better sharing of intelligence, joint planning and precise execution, this operation continues to yield exceptional results in suppressing drug-related criminality across our local communities.

“The results, quite literally, speak for themselves and are testament to the excellent partnership working of all parties involved.

“Drugs are inextricably linked to a high proportion of violent criminality – a key operational priority for the Met – and we will therefore continue to target perpetrators; seeking to bring them to justice.”

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Tackling drug dealing and making our neighbourhoods safer continue to be top priorities for the council. Our Operation Continuum partnership work with local police has seen some fantastic results over the last year and these latest raids once again demonstrate the progress we’re making towards getting drug dealers off our streets.

“We will not stand for criminal activity in our borough and will continue to work with police partners to disrupt local drug markets and target those intent on breaking the law.”