A series of dramatic raids last night dealt what the police are calling “a massive blow to an established gang” suspected of dealing huge quantities of cocaine and heroin from a flat in Earl’s Court.
The operation, which involved 200 officers at addresses across west London, led to nine arrests, including of an alleged drug-running boy, aged 14.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said just before the raids took place, gang members who have been exploiting “vulnerable people and very young people have been engaged in the drug-dealing operation.
So they need to be locked up”. It’s not just the money they make that’s the problem, it’s the way young children are dragged into crime and used to distribute drugs that does harm — as the Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield pointed out in the Evening Standard this week. “The more vulnerable the child, the more valuable to those running the gangs,” she wrote.
One raid alone will not end this, of course. But as the commissioner says: “In the past two weeks or so, and in particular since last weekend, we’ve been doing more and more.”
Some might ask why it has taken so long. But the Met, she promises, is “learning along the way”.
Let’s hope she’s right.