Police station crackdown targets knives and drugs

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Islington Tribune – by CHARLOTTE CHAMBERS
Published: 29 May 2009

Joint operation: teams at the Tube station targeted men between 16 and 25

Police station crackdown targets knives and drugs

POLICE have sent a warning to anyone hoping to bring drugs and knives into Finsbury Park: you will be caught.
Last Thursday a joint operation by British Transport Police, Safer Neighbourhoods officers and reassurance teams was launched outside Finsbury Park station with the aim of frightening off would-be dealers and anyone carrying weapons.
Part of the anti-knife Operation Blunt, the teams targeted men between 16 and 25, the group most likely to commit drugs and weapons offences according to police data, and used sniffer dogs and a knife arch.
Young men walking out of the station were encouraged to walk through the arch; if they resisted they were asked why. Aggressive behaviour or an unwillingness to account for their presence led to a search. Of 110 people stopped, 10 were arrested, others were searched and released.
Finsbury Park has been identified by police as a trouble hotspot because of the so-called free travel to and from the area; the 29 bus has problems with fare evasion and there are no ticket barriers at the station.
In March the area around the station was also made a dispersal zone for youths and police said its effectiveness would be reviewed when its term ends in June.
Sgt Liam Ahern of Finsbury Park Safer Neighbourhoods hub team said the operation was likely to keep criminals away from the area for at least a month, and planned to launch a similar surprise operation in coming four weeks.
“We are sending out the message: carrying knives in Finsbury Park and you will get caught. We want to reassure the local people and those travelling to Finsbury Park, and act as a deterrent,” he said.
More than 50 people were fined for fare evasion.

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