Saturday, December 07, 2013

Operation to tackle criminal infrastructure currently operating in Soho

The culmination in the latest phase of an operation designed to dismantle the criminal infrastructure currently operating in Soho has resulted in 29 arrests and premises raided by the Metropolitan Police Service.

Codenamed Demontere the operation has been months in the planning using evidence gathered by undercover officers and other policing tactics to target those people using various businesses as a front for handling stolen goods. 

Officers have evidence of high value watches and jewellery, mobile phones and items stolen as a result of shoplifting and robbery all having been 'converted' to cash in a number of properties. Police have gained direct evidence linking drug dealers and those buying stolen goods to a number of properties including a minicab company, brothels, clubs and sex shops.

To support the arrest phase brothel closure orders will be applied for to attempt to close those addresses linked to serious crimes including rape and human trafficking. The licensed premises will go before a review committee. 

Previously, operations - codenamed Jolt and Rense - have taken place since May 2012, using a range of policing tactics and specialist officers from across the Met, to tackle the drugs market in Soho. 

To date as part of these operations 73 drug dealers and users have been arrested, being jailed for over 170 years in total, or have anti-social behaviour orders in place against them. 

Commander Alison Newcomb, in charge of policing in Westminster, said: "These operations have given us a much clearer intelligence picture and evidence of connections between criminals and crime types that were happening in Soho, from street drug dealers to links with human traffickers.

"This part of London has been almost a constant feature as a crime hotspot for the Met so we have used a range of specialist officers, skills and policing tactics to make this a hostile area for criminals to try and operate in.

"So far we've made 100 arrests for drug dealing and handling stolen goods as part of this sustained campaign of police activity. Our aim is to make this an environment where criminals who may attempt to operate here in the future are always concerned that the Met is on to them. 

"The next step will be to work to close a number of the brothels where we have evidence of very serious crimes happening, including rape and human trafficking. We are using the skills and support of specialist officers from throughout the Met to ensure that suspects are found and brought to justice and the women are properly supported.

"Financial investigators will now follow the money trail and will go where the evidence takes them, unpicking if there are broader criminal networks involved. 

"We will continue to do all we can to make this a hostile environment for criminals to try and operate in. The next phase of this operation is already in the planning.

"London is an internationally renowned tourist destination and a world class capital city, Soho is at its very heart. Importantly, Soho is also a residential community, and we are committed to tackling the crime and behaviour that causes them concern, not just now with these operations but in the future too."

The Territorial Support Group started the arrest phase at 21:30hrs on Wednesday, 4 December, carrying out raids at addresses in Tisbury Court, Walkers Court and the surrounding area. 

More arrests have been made this morning, Thursday, 5 December, and officers are still searching over 20 addresses, including the homes of many of those arrested.

Councillor Philippa Roe, Leader of Westminster City Council, said: "The night time economy is a cornerstone of the West End's success and, as part of the West End Partnership, Westminster City Council works to promote the area as a safe place for law abiding people to live and do business.

"Drugs, theft, handling stolen goods and human trafficking have no part in that which is why Westminster City Council stands shoulder to shoulder with the Metropolitan Police Service in Operation Demontere. 

"Together, we're sending the clear message that the insidious tentacles of the criminal underworld will not be allowed to spread through Soho unchecked and unchallenged.

"Tonight's raids struck a significant blow against the criminal infrastructure. Now, however, we want to be just as clear that Westminster City Council is ready to help any vulnerable woman - themselves victims of crime, trapped in a way of life where they have little or no control. For us, their safety is paramount."

Undercover officers have been deployed in Soho on a number of operations over the last two years infiltrating the networks of drug dealers and those people buying stolen goods. This has given police sufficient evidence to mount this operation, the third so far.

Making sure that all the legislative opportunities are explored to reduce the chances of these properties re-opening straight away officers have been working closely with Westminster City Council and jointly will ensure licensing hearings are held and brothel closure orders are applied for. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If they want to sort soho out start with swallow street what message does ignoring people openly breakingh the law every night send to the rest mayor G in newyork used zero Tollerance . Send these people a message