Extra police hired to stamp out drug dealing and ASB in Finsbury Park

Severn Sisters Road at Finsbury Park.Picture:Ken Mears

Severn Sisters Road at Finsbury Park.Picture:Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Police have deployed an extra seven officers in Finsbury Park as part of ongoing efforts to stamp out rampant drug dealing and antisocial behaviour.

Cllr Andy Hull. Picture: Islington Council

Cllr Andy Hull. Picture: Islington Council - Credit: Archant

The temporary reinforcements: a police sergeant and six police constables, were brought in about a month ago and have been in the area every day since, though they are part of a mobile team that can be sent anywhere in the borough.

Islington Council last week tried to kickstart a tri-borough police partnership for Finsbury Park with Hackney and Haringey, which was first announced in December with the goal of targeting “drug use and supply in and around Finsbury Park”,

Over the past year officers have arrested 26 suspects for the supply and production of drugs in the area – and they have recently closed three active crack houses.

Islington’s crime chief Cllr Andy Hull told the Gazette: “The council and police in Islington are working hard to address drug-related criminality in the area around Finsbury Park. This includes coordinating tri-borough efforts with colleagues from the boroughs of Hackney and Haringey.

A 'warning' sign outside a Romilly Road crack house, which was shut down last year.

A 'warning' sign outside a Romilly Road crack house, which was shut down last year. - Credit: Archant

“Our task is made much harder though by a government which has cut 300 police officers from Islington’s streets and halved the council’s funding since 2010.

“These national cuts have local consequences, and it’s communities like ours who are left to deal with the fallout,”

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Cops in Finsbury Park have also ramped up patrols around known drug dealing hot spots, such as Lowman Road, and have carried out “453 intelligence-led drug-related stops” in the past 12 months.

Islington Council also worked with the police to carry out Environmental Visual Audits (EVAs) in the Blackstock Triangle area, Wray Crescent and on the Andover Estate. EVAs are detailed plans that identify what anti-social behaviour problems there are in a particular place before suggesting actions to tackle them.

The above cases have led to the town hall making changes such as “improving lighting, cutting back bushes and shrubbery, repairing walls and reducing moped access”. An EVA was recently carried out at St Thomas The Apostle church, where Rev Stephen Coles last month told the Gazette he’d found “condoms, drug paraphernalia” and “a nine inch blade” deposited by alleged heroin users.

Police and the council are also collaborating to tackle anti-social behaviour outside City and Islington College, where officers have been using dispersal orders to move trouble makers on,

All pharmacies in the Finsbury Park area are now also operating needle exchange schemes – and three free BT InLink phone booths, allegedly used to facilitate drug deals, have temporarily had calls to mobiles suspended.

The extra officers compliment an existing safer neighbourhood team of five police constables and a community support officer, led by Sgt Ben Tate.