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Covent Garden residents tell police: We’re sick of drug dealers

Warning of a lack of co-operation between Camden and Westminster along the borough boundaries

12 December, 2016 — By William McLennan

RESIDENTS in Covent Garden have told police that they “have had enough” of the daily intimidation they face as a result of the area’s open drug market.

Police in the south of Camden, who have teamed up with colleagues in Westminster in an attempt to tackle drug dealing, faced residents at the point of despair at a public meeting on Monday.

Jo Weir, of the Covent Garden Community Association, said it was “encouraging” the two teams were beginning to work together, adding: “We have waited long enough for that to happen.

“It’s absolutely crazy for Covent Garden to be split down the middle as it is.”

In an unusual set-up, Covent Garden is divided between two policing teams, one based at Camden police headquarters in Holborn and the other at Westminster’s HQ in Charing Cross.

In recent years there has been a reduction in collaboration between the two teams, which the Covent Garden Community Association said “seems to have allowed gangs to move between jurisdictions and run rings around the authorities”.

She said: “People have had enough. Why should families with young children have to go past dealers to get to school? Why should we see people with needles in their arms and why should we see human excrement everywhere?”

Awale Olad, a Camden councillor, said: “It’s about time Westminster co-operated with Camden. Since the 2012 Olympics drug dealers have been getting pushed into Covent Garden from the West End and we’ve had to retaliate with a number of dispersal orders to manage the situation.”

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