TRADERS URGED TO BACK BLITZ ON CRIME

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[from Hackney Gazette]

TRADERS URGED TO BACK BLITZ ON CRIME

hg.editorial@archant.co.uk
30 May 2008

SHOPKEEPERS are being encouraged to sign a pledge denouncing crime in the wake of one of the largest police raids in the borough’s history.

The move is part of a wave of measures aimed at cementing improvements in Blackstock Road since hundreds of riot cops descended on the street nine weeks ago to crack down on criminal gangs.

Those running the road’s shops and cafes are being urged to sign up to the anti-crime charter and pledge support to build a safer street.

CCTV cameras are being introduced in shops most at risk and a community festival is planned for August.

Despina Johnson is the chief executive of FinFuture, a charity set up to improve Finsbury Park.

She said: “There is a distinct desire to make big improvements in the area.

“This new enthusiasm has developed as we have seen the police and community working together to wipe out crime.

“It came as great relief and now we really feel that we must carry on the good work by preventing the criminals from returning. The best way is to encourage local people to use Blackstock Road again and to enjoy what it has to offer.”

Raj Dattani, of Fish & Cook Stationers, said: “We are very pleased to be involved in these activities, which are good for business.”

“We have had lots of discussions about improving the safety of our community and I am confident that we can all make it a safer place.”

More than 600 riot cops sealed off the street and raided shops and cafes on March 27.

Up to 30 people are still in police custody charged with offences including fake documents, drug dealing and handling stolen goods.

Detectives had long suspected the street’s thriving black market was fuelling street crime across the capital.

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