December 13 2013 Latest news:
by Tom Marshall
Friday, September 13, 2013
A former police officer who harboured a massive drug addiction while fighting crime in Camden has shocked the Hampstead community by claiming the area is rife with cocaine.
Nicholas Conn says he was using eight grams a day while working as a Pc based at Kentish Town police station, in Holmes Road, and walking the beat in Hampstead.
The 31-year-old got hooked on the Class A drug from the moment he joined the Met – after a family member supplied his first line on the day he passed his police medical.
At the height of his abuse, he would snort cocaine in the station toilets in Kentish Town before going off to arrest criminals.
And he claims he picked up his supplies from numerous drug dealers in Hampstead.
He told the Ham&High: “After my shifts I would go to Hampstead, drugs were very accessible to me there.
“I had about six-odd dealers in Hampstead at the time.
“Cocaine is rife in Hampstead. It all looks prettied up and very nice, but there’s a very big thing behind that niceness on the cocaine front.”
He added: “Somehow the cocaine kept drawing me back to Hampstead.”
Community figures have expressed profound surprise at his comments.
Tony Hillier, chairman of The Heath and Hampstead Society, said: “I certainly have not heard that before, but I’m not sure the statements of a cocaine addict are particularly reliable.
“As far as I’m concerned, Hampstead is the same as most other parts of London.”
He added: “It’s absolutely appalling that the Metropolitan Police didn’t pull this up and they don’t do regular checks on their inadequate employees.”
Solicitor and Redington Road resident Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who chairs the Frognal and Fitzjohns Safer Neighbourhoods Panel, said: “I have never come across any suggestion in Hampstead that it’s a place to buy drugs. I’m really surprised to hear that.”
Steve Coxshall, owner of The Duke of Hamilton pub in New End, Hampstead, said: “We never see any of that in the pub. We’re the only proper boozer in Hampstead and we don’t get any trouble.
“Hampstead is quite a sleepy place so I find that really surprising.”
Mr Conn was speaking after the publication of his memoir, The Thin White Line: Confessions of a Cocaine Cop, which came out on e-book this month.
It charts his spiralling drug addiction as an officer from 2001, when he signed up for the police as a 19-year-old, until he left the Met in 2005.
He was based at Kentish Town throughout that time and carried out street patrols in Hampstead.
“They never actually caught me,” he said. “I don’t know how they never found out.”
He admits that even though he was an addict, he viewed the drug users he arrested as “scum”.
“I was in so much denial at that stage,” he said.
“Police work is a very stressful job and I’m human. You’re disappointed in yourself and that brings up emotions, so you use drugs to take away those emotions.”
He eventually wound up in Berlin after leaving the force, where he got mixed up in drug- running, built up huge debts and became homeless, before returning to the UK five years ago and cleaning up his act.
He now runs a drug addiction help service called Help 4 Addiction which can be found at www.help4addiction.co.uk.
“I’m currently working with two of my old Hampstead dealers, to help get them the treatment that they need,” he added.
Camden Police declined to comment.