Sunday, January 28, 2007

Police drugs action in Sheil Road

The police have just closed down two crack houses in Kensington, right there on Sheil Road

They had been tipped off by concerned local people that the prostitutes and dealers were queuing to get into these two flats. So they gathered their evidence and one morning last week they raided.

They recovered all sorts and boarded them up.

It seems hard to believe looking at the streets over the last few weeks, just how bad it was this time last year. When I was door-kocking in the streets around Sheil Road in the run up to the local elections in 2006 every house told me about the prosititutes, about young lads being propositioned on their way to school, about family men being propositioned as early as 6am as they set off for work, about innocent young girls being approached by punters prowling round for sex. There were condoms on doorsteps when people came out to do their shopping.

And of course, prostitution goes hand in hand with drugs.

Every girl that was arrested in the area during the police's intensive campaign tested positive for either heroin or crack cocaine.

The dealers work where the girls work.

Just after I was elected I went to see the then Inspector, Paul White, and explained to him that this was the number one problem in the area. We discussed the problem at length and I gave him quite a lot of reports I had gathered about which houses were involved with drug dealing and which with prostitution. He took it all very seriously and I was pleased when he agreed to call a public meeting to look at solutions.

We all met in the police station back in the summer and after our discussions Paul tasked one of his sergeants with tackling the whole problem, Operation Rose was born.

I have blogged before about some of the activities of Operation Rose, the police have concentrated intensive resources on the area, targetting kerb crawlers, working with Armistead to trying to get the girls into rehab, applying for ASBOs for the worst offenders, to keep them out of the area, but they have had particular success with targeting the dealers.

The action last week was only one in a series of actions designed to push the dealers, the drugs and the prostitutes out of the area.

It is definitely working, where once prostitutes were a sad, everyday aspect of life in the area, now they are rarely seen.

If you are looking for an example of how the police work closely with the community, to target and concentrate on the people's priorities then you dont need to look any further than Kensington.

They have been really great and I salute them.


Jay said...

The signs that the police originally put up were nothing short of offensive to the people of the area (and illegal according to Highway Law which is worrying). I would like to say it was naive but in truth it was just plain stupid, ill thought out and reactive to certain people in the community who claim to speak for all but who only speak for themselves.
That aside (and it now off my chest!), since then the police have really cracked down on this issue and associated problems on Sheil Rd and there has been a marked, major effect. Your campaigns have reaped great reward. Well done! (even if Cllr Doran tries to claim credit when he has played no part).

Anonymous said...

"The signs that the police originally put up were nothing short of offensive to the people of the area"

"certain people in the community who claim to speak for all but who only speak for themselves"

Hoist by your own Petard. perchance?