Securing Estate's Safety – or Just Another Publicity Stunt?

In a press release last week, Hackney council claimed to be securing the safety of housing estates through police action action against drug dealers. Hackney Independent thinks this is just a cheap publicity stunt and symptomatic of the Council’s disregard for the concerns of the working class majority in Hackney whose lives are affected by this every day. Below we reprint their press release and offer our response to it:


Officers from Estate Safety attended a raid last week by Hackney Police’s Central Sector Team. The raid at 163 Trelawney Estate, E9 was part of Operation Southpaw and was carried out under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.


On forcing entry, the police found a large quantity of crack cocaine and associated drugs paraphernalia such as micro-scales and packing for reselling the narcotics.


The living room had been turned into a “shop” with a letterbox used for serving customers. The small bedroom had a microwave for cooking the raw cocaine into crack.


Various weapons were found in the premises, including knives, golf clubs and chisels. One woman was removed and charged and no lawful tenant or occupier was present.


The flat was secured temporarily by a padlock and “screw-eyes”. On returning an officer from Estate Safety found that further drug dealers had broken in again.


After enlisting the support of another officer the address was visited again and two people were asked to leave. They agreed to do so after a short conversation.
The flat was repossessed and Hackney Building Maintenance took it over. The front door was secured by nailing it up and a large lock and chain was fitted to secure the gate. A permanent security door has also been installed.

Julius Nkafu, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Crime, said ” Hackney Council is determined to clamp down on anyone seeking to abuse our estates and disrupt the lives of everyone living there. We will continue to work with the police to stamp out the drugs trade in the borough.”


Hackney IWCA’s (Hackney Independent as of summer 2004) Carl Taylor commented:


“No doubt this is a relief for the neighbours on the Trelawney estate. However the problem of dealing in hard drugs is widespread on our estates and needs dealing with comprehensively, not with one-off PR stunts. The Council has a legal duty to take action against hard drug dealers. Too many residents are having to put up with a problem that wouldn’t be there if the Council were doing their job. The time for Councillor Nkafu to claim credit in the papers is when the Council take action to stop all dealing in hard drugs on our estates.”


“The Council keeps running down our youth clubs, our leisure facilities and even our employment prospects through giving planning permission to convert factories into yuppie flats. If there are less jobs, less youth clubs and less leisure facilities there will be more dealing in hard drugs.”