It’s easier to buy drugs than cigarettes in Islington, councillor warns top cop

A TUFNELL PARK councillor has hit out at the police, accusing them of not doing enough to tackle antisocial behaviour on estates in her ward.

Councillor Tracy Ismail, who represents St George’s, criticised Islington police’s borough commander Mike Wise and community safety manager Alva Bailey over their handling of drug dealers and antisocial behaviour in the area.

In a scathing speech at Islington Council’s communities review committee meeting on Tuesday (19) night, Councillor Ismail (Lib Dem) said: “We have constant drug-dealing, partying in the stairwells, there are some questionable young men who live on the estate. This has been going on for years and it’s actually getting worse.”

“My daughter goes to Acland Burghley school in Tufnell Park. She’s 15. She says it’s easier to buy drugs than cigarettes in a local shop. I just don’t understand why nothing is done.”

She addded: “Antisocial behaviour is the thing that bothers people the most. It doesn’t tend to affect the people that live in the leafy streets. But if you live on an estate it’s a massive, massive problem.

“I know my local safer neighbourhood team and Homes for Islington are working hard to combat anti-social behaviour, but it’s not enough.”

Responding to Councillor Ismail’s comments, Chief Superintendent Wise said: “Saying we do nothing is slightly unfair.”

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But Chief Superintendent Wise agreed that drug dealing in the community was a concern. He said: “Clearly we need to look at that and do something about that.”

The borough’s top cop also argued that there was little that could be done about some forms of antisocial behaviour. Referring to youths playing football in the early hours of the morning, Chief Superintendent said: “They’re not committing criminal offences. We need to look at what police can do in terms of the law.”

The communities review committee had assembled to hear a report from the safer Islington partnership on crime and disorder in the community. The report indicated a long-term trend for a reduction in most types of crime, but it suggested that domestic violence offences and racial offences have risen in the last year.

Chief Superintendent Wise also warned of the impact cuts may have on policing across the borough. He said: “If you’re slicing millions of pounds out of local authority and policing then that is going to have an effect and I have to caution you on that.”