Crackdown on drug dens to protect ‘vulnerable families’

Ilford Police station (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Ilford Police station (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) - Credit: photo: Arnaud Stephenson

Drug dens are being targeted by Redbridge police under new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Redbridge Police has become one of the first forces in London to carry out a raid under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act, which came into effect in October.

The new legislation aims to make it easier to shut down premises suspected to be used for drug-dealing and other offences.

Inspector Wayne McBride said the force hoped the new powers would help them take swift action.

“It stems from your normal crack house situation,” he said.

“You get a vulnerable family, a man then either gets in a relationship or sells drugs to them.

“That leads to an escalation whereby the house is used as a drug den.

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“The whole point is to provide support for the vulnerable families and get criminals arrested and prosecuted.”

Insp McBride said the force made use of the act for the first time last week, after receiving calls from residents.

He said: “We had a number of calls from local residents initially around reports of groups of males fighting in the street.

“We established that it was linked to one particular address.”

He said residents claimed to have seen between five and 20 men at the property, which was only supposed to house one woman and three children.

The police applied to Magistrates Court for an order making it a criminal offence for anyone not registered at the address to be on the premises.

Officers then executed a warrant at the property, arresting one man on suspicion of drug dealing and another on suspicion of handling stolen goods.

Chief Inspector John Fish urged residents to report issues.

He said: “In London, people’s threshold of anti-social behaviour is slightly raised.

“People go ‘it’s alright because it’s Ilford’. It’s not alright.

“They need to come forward and tell the police about it.”