Crackhouse in Riverside Gardens Closed

New funding announced as 30th drug den in borough closed

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Local police and the Council have co-operated in an operation that has seen the closure of a crack house in Riverside Gardens.

This is the 30th such closure in the borough and comes as Hammersmith & Fulham Council announced it would provide a £100k-plus funding package to continue the blitz on crackhouses and street drug operations, plus a new crime prevention officer.

The closure in Riverside Gardens is the third in February alone, and is a result of the partnership work between police, the council and housing associations to tackle drugs.

Councillor Reg McLaughlin, cabinet member for social inclusion, said residents had told the council that reducing and preventing crime in the community should be one of its top priorities. He said, " We've listened and as a result, we will now provide funding to help with the appointment of staff and the running costs of ongoing drug operations. In addition, a new crime prevention professional will be employed to work in the community safety unit and work with police on long-term crime reduction initiatives to help stop crime for good."

He added that funding has also been made available to fast-track the establishment of Safer Neighbourhood Teams in Ravenscourt Park and Addison wards and provide extra police officers for each of the town centres.

Borough Commander, Heather Valentine, said, "The community is rightly concerned about drug dealing activity and the effect this has on local neighbourhoods. For this reason, we have invested significantly in tackling this type of problem. There is frequently a direct link between drug dealing activity and other types of crime in local areas and my team and I are determined that this will not be allowed to continue unchallenged."

She warned those involved in the drugs trade or committing crime to support a habit to expect to be arrested very soon.

The new crime prevention officer will work in areas including extending CCTV, lock-fitting schemes, crime prevention packages to mark high-value goods like ipods, mobile phones and bikes. The officer will also work with the Home Office and the London Centre for Personal Safety to deliver tactical initiatives which have proved successful in other areas.

The Hammersmith & Fulham area is experiencing decreases in personal and commercial robbery, street crime and theft, vehicle crime, criminal damage, gun-enabled crime, common assault and rape.

In addition to crackhouse closures and crime prevention work, measures like the establishment of dispersal zones, issuing antisocial behaviour orders (asbos) and prosecutions of environmental crimes like flytipping are all helping to make our community a safer place .

March 7, 2006