Arrests made as 25 dawn raids aim to smash Hackney gang
PUBLISHED: 11:06 27 February 2013 | UPDATED: 11:06 27 February 2013
A swoop aimed at smashing a gang which has blighted the streets of Hoxton saw 14 suspected drug dealers arrested in dawn raids this morning.
Operation Haka, a long-term operation aimed at dismantling gang-related criminality in Hackney, saw 25 search warrants being carried out from 4am.
Around 580 officers from specialist units including the Territorial Support Group and Special Operations helped conduct the arrests, which included possession with intent to supply class A drugs, possession of class A and C drugs and for proceed of crime offences.
Ch Supt Matthew Horne, Hackney’s Borough Commander said: “In an operation like this where they are all going to be arrested for drugs supply we need to take them out all together or they will all know they are next – and if you are going to tackle a gang it’s best to do it in a high profile way, overnight.”
He believes the arrests will have a big impact on the community in the short term, because it will remove the violence and theft which accompanies drug dealing.
“It’s a whole layer of criminality that’s gone – the community in Hoxton is blighted by this,” he said.
“People in the community have told us what causes them concern, how their kids can’t go to school without fear of being robbed and how you can’t sometimes walk down the street in Hoxton with your iPhone out, without it being snatched.”
Ch Supt Horne continued: “I’m sure there is kudos attached to being in prison but that’s where I hope several of these are headed.
“We’ve reached the point now where we have had enough.
“They’ve been given opportunities through the gangs unit, they’ve all got support if they want to leave the situations they are in – I know it’s not easy to get out of a gang and I’m not naïve to say they will move to a nice villa somewhere, but they choose not to leave and I understand why – but this is the option that’s left.”
Hackney Council helped fund the operation and it is hoped the impact will be felt across the whole borough.
All suspects are currently in custody at London police stations.
Operation Haka is part of wider police activity across the whole of London today, as the Met Police is running a day of visible activity to cut crime and disrupt those who cause harm to the capital’s communities under the banner of Operation Big Wing.
Officers in Hackney will also be conducting street briefings and police surgeries to inform the public about what is being done to tackle crime and disorder.
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