Police find hammer, a blade and heroin on weapons sweep in South Hampstead as part of new ‘focus on violence’

Sgt Jim Barrett inspects the undergrowth in South Hampstead. Picture: Sam Volpe

Sgt Jim Barrett inspects the undergrowth in South Hampstead. Picture: Sam Volpe - Credit: Archant

As part of a city-wide focus on violent crime, police across Camden spent Friday afternoon searching for weapons in the borough’s parks and estates.

Suspected heroin in a Kinder egg container. Picture: Sam Volpe

Suspected heroin in a Kinder egg container. Picture: Sam Volpe - Credit: Archant

With the Ham&High for company in the Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate in South Hampstead, local beat cops discovered a discarded Stanley knife blade, a hammer and two chisels stashed within an old t-shirt above a dark stairwell and even what looked like heroin lodged inside a container extracted from a Kinder egg.

Officers also were also positive about the increased numbers of them on the beat — explaining recent staffing increases had made their jobs easier and allowed them to focus on keeping the public safe.

As he searched through the undergrowth, Sgt Jim Barrett and his team discussed how the Met's amped-up approach to tackling violent crime would see weapons sweeps of problem areas increase, and how important "community intelligence" was in helping the police do their job.

Sgt Barrett said: "There's been a real push to tackle violent crime organisation-wide. It's amazing how many knives you get around in places like this."

Pointing to a concealed hammer and chisel found on a ledge, he added: "They're not leaving them by accident - why would a builder leave a hammer stashed there?"

Scotland Yard has announced that seasoned officers are being drafted in to boost numbers in each borough and increase "pro-active patrols".

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Sgt Barrett said the difference would be noticed. He said: "People have gone from supervising three or four wards to just two — and that means people can get out more and do a bit more on the streets. They're deterred because they know we can catch them."

The sergeant's team on the estate think the same. Pc Alex Burnett-Hope told the Ham&High: "I think things have been getting better. There's been less violent crime, less public complaints. It feels quite positive."

Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons said: "Every single officer in the Metropolitan Police Service knows that tackling violence is their first priority. The public will see increased police activity as part our 2020 push to drive down violence in all its forms. We know this is what matters most to Londoners.

"It is the responsibility of all our officers and staff to identify, target, and pursue those involved in violence and safeguard the public."

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