[from Islington Gazette]
600 police in crime raid
27 March 2008
MORE than 600 police closed off an Islington street and raided 19 shops, cafes and flats in a huge blitz on crime today.
Eighty riot vans descended on Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, and blocked it off at either end at around 2.15pm as part of the operation, codenamed Mista.
A number of people were arrested during the crackdown on drug dealing, handling stolen goods and the production of forged documents in what is the heart of London’s Algerian community.
Chief Superintendent Bob Carr, the head of Islington police, said: “Today’s arrests have been the culmination of a lengthy operation by the MPS supported by BTP and the Immigration Service, to target those who we believe are involved in criminal activity.
“The operation has taken many months in the planning, collating intelligence to ensure that we are targeting the right individuals.
“We cannot allow people perceived to be successful through their criminality to have a negative impact on our communities – in particular young people.
“We know we have the support of the wider community in this area who have constantly raised the issue of criminality to the Safer Neighbourhoods teams.
“This is part of a long term strategy to ensure those intent on criminal activity no longer gravitate towards the area.
“Following the arrests today we expect there to be a number of individuals outstanding who we will be actively seeking to arrest in the coming weeks.
“The Safer Neighbourhoods teams who work closely with the local communities will now be engaging with key partners and residents to make the Blackstock Road area a safer place for those who live and work in the local community.”
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Jones of BTP said: “This is a major joint operation targeting a group of people responsible for much serious crime.
The significant resources that have been devoted to Operation Mista over many months should send a message that we will do what it takes to track down criminals and bring them to justice.