Labour Councillors have called on the Police to re-institute its specialist crack cocaine drug team operating around the Charing Cross Road and Cambridge Circus area which was axed earlier this year as a result of the Mayor’s spending cuts.
Residents in Vale Royal and Sandringham Buildings on Charing Cross Road have contacted Labour Councillors after long-standing problems with drug dealing in the area.
This issue has also been reported in the ‘Camden New Journal’:
“A SPECIALIST police team set up to stamp out the crack cocaine trade in the borough has been axed, leading to complaints from residents who say their lives are being blighted by an influx of dealers.
The unit, called the Bloomsbury Town Centre Team, had carried out late-night patrols of back streets around St Giles High Street, Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road, but was abruptly wound up earlier this year due to funding cuts to the Metropolitan Police.
People living in the area now say they feel in danger at night as the level of drug dealing has returned to levels not seen for a decade.
One resident said that the withdrawal of the team had left the area without any police presence at night, adding: “Now they’ve gone, it’s open house for the dealers and the addicts.”
It has become a particular scourge around Cambridge Circus and in New Compton Street. One mother, who has lived in Mercer Street for more than 20 years, said: “There is so much drug dealing around Cambridge Circus that I avoid it after dark. My daughter cannot walk there on the way to school at 7am because dealers are still hanging around in a way that is really threatening.”
Labour Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg said:
“We have written to the Westminster police to call on them to explain why this specialist drug unit has been axed and to let us know their plans to deal with the long-standing problems associated with drug dealing on the Westminster/Camden border.”
“The Mayor has closed police stations all over Westminster and Camden in order to raise money, yet there is no sign of the millions of pounds he has received being spent on improving local policing. Where has the money gone? What has the Mayor done with the tens of millions of pounds he has pocketed by selling police stations? That money should be spent on local police improvements and he should start by reinstituting the specialist West End drugs team.”