A total of 24 men have been arrested for possession with intent to supply class A and B drugs after a number of early morning raids today in Waltham Forest.
More than 300 officers from the north-east Proactive Gangs Unit and Territorial Support Group visited 27 residential and business addresses between 4.45am to 7am this morning in the St James’s Street area of Walthamstow.
The men arrested, aged between 16 and 32-years-old, have been taken into custody.
This follows a five-month investigation by Met detectives as part of a proactive operation to tackle the drivers of violent crime in the area and act on community concerns.
In addition to the arrests, a number of zombie style knives, class A and B drugs and large amounts of cash were seized. Furthermore, officers also retrieved a number of phones, which will help build up intelligence of drug dealing in the borough.
During the investigation, detectives worked alongside partners at Waltham Forest Council.
Richard Tucker, North East BCU Commander at the Met, said: “The Met continuously works to disrupt and dismantle the toxic gangs supplying drugs to the capital. Our absolute priority is tackling violence and I am committed to making Waltham Forest Borough a hostile environment for criminality.
“We know that the supply of drugs fuels violence, not just in Waltham Forest, but in all areas throughout London. By cutting off the supply of drugs and seizing intelligence on their networks, we can continue to stem the supply and clamp down on violence.
“I would like to thank all the officers involved in this operation, some of whom have been making painstaking enquiries for many months. Likewise, I’m grateful for the on-going support of Waltham Forest Council and the valuable contribution the have brought to today’s activity.”
Cabinet Member for Community Safety for Waltham Forest, Cllr Ahsan Khan, said: “Today, the Metropolitan Police took a number of gang members off our streets, who have been spreading misery in our communities and criminally exploiting our young people.
“Waltham Forest’s Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) delivers a public health approach to violence, by working alongside the criminal justice systems which respond to crime.
“The VRP recognises that many young people caught up in the drugs trade are groomed by adult criminal networks, and works shoulder-to-shoulder with communities, the Metropolitan Police, health and education services to ensure vulnerable young people provided with the right support at the right time to escape criminal exploitation and recover from the trauma they have experienced.
Waltham Forest council will supply high-visibility community safety patrols in the neighbourhoods affected by this morning’s operation and liaise with residents to ensure regular updates regarding this activity.
The council will also work alongside the Metropolitan Police to ensure that individuals apprehended in the operation who are not criminally charged – and identified as being exploited by organised gangs and the drugs trade – are given appropriate safeguarding referrals and support with gang exit strategy.