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We're winning the battle against drugs, says borough commander

PUBLISHED: 12:42 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:30 07 September 2010

THE battle against drug dealing in Camden Town is being won, according to police. Officers believe the fight is finally going in their favour after using a variety of tactics to rid the streets of persistent cannabis and heroin dealers. But at a public m

THE battle against drug dealing in Camden Town is being won, according to police.

Officers believe the fight is finally going in their favour after using a variety of tactics to rid the streets of persistent cannabis and heroin dealers.

But at a public meeting of the Camden Community and Police Consultative Group, officers stressed it was important they had the resources in the future to maintain their efforts.

Borough Commander Dominic Clout spoke at the meeting held at Camden Town Hall to back his officers' efforts, saying: "We cannot take our foot off the pedal. If we withdraw those resources we will quickly revert back and drug dealing will again become active.

"I think we have reached a tipping point in Camden Town. We have seen to what extent enforcement has worked but that's only to an extent.

"Something physically or environmentally has to change in Camden Town if we are going to make a long-term impact. We will have to start looking at the streetscape and the tube station."

Chief executive of business group Camden Town Unlimited, Simon Pitkeathley, said part of the battle was to improve the reputation of the area.

"Camden Town's reputation has been very poor for a long time and we are only just beginning to crack it," Mr Pitkeathley said.

"There's been some very good work so far but there is still a lot to do and if we take our foot off the gas now then we will undo all the good work."

Sgt Roger Smith, who heads the Camden Town Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said fighting the dealers was the most rewarding job he has held.

Of the various tactics the police team has used, the Asbo has proved the most effective. Since the team was formed in 2006, Asbos have been given to 111 people.

Later this month Sgt Smith's team will hope to increase that to 124 when 13 members of the gang The Money Squad go before a judge.

The team has also made 740 arrests in that time, most of which resulted from the use of stop-and-search powers.

They have also used their powers of dispersal to kick 400 problematic individuals out of the area. And officers have raided homes across London to try to halt the flow of drugs to the area.

Sgt Smith said: "When we go to drug dealers' houses they are not surprised they are being raided by police but by the fact they are being raided by police from Camden Town.

"We have gone all the way over there to send a message to them.

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