Residents and traders back Blackstock Road raid


[from Islington Gazette]

Residents and traders back Blackstock Road raid
02 April 2008
Officers in riot gear during the operation in Blackstock Road
Officers in riot gear during the operation in Blackstock Road

SHOPKEEPERS and some residents of Finsbury Park have spoken out in favour of last week’s largest-ever police raid on organised crime in the area.

Thursday morning’s operation against 19 properties in Blackstock Road, which involved more than 600 officers, was criticised by some people as over the top.

But many others felt it was justified and hope it will mean the start of a new, safer community.

Suleyman Bulbul, who works at Arsenal Food and Wine, Blackstock Road, hopes that the raids will help with business.

He said: “I think it was all very necessary, even with that amount of police. I hope that from now on the road will be a better place to work.

“When it gets dark people start stealing on the streets and it affects business. We get a lot of customers who complain because they do not feel safe. We are very happy that these raids happened and believe that good things will come from them.”

Gary Connell, an unemployed resident of Blackstock Road, said: “I was trying to get into the road at the time of the raids but they would not let anyone in. I think they were a good idea and I think that the police should do another raid in the future. There is a big problem with drugs here and it needs to be dealt with.”

Another shopkeeper, who did not want to be named, agreed that more raids were needed in order to tackle the crime problem.

He said: “I think they need to build on this before it goes back to how it was. They need to do three or four more raids and they need to do them later in the day.”

“When they did the raids it was too early and there were a lot of innocent people in the streets. If they were done later they would be more successful.”

“There are a lot of problems in Blackstock Road, especially for women. When my sister walks down the street there are men constantly being rude and trying to touch her.”

“I hope this raid will be the start of an improvement in the area so that people can feel safe walking down the road at any time and they can stand at bus stops without being pick-pocketed.”


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