Killing of a Constable: Local people numbed by culture of violence: Martin Whitfield finds shock, but not surprise, a neighbourhood's respectable streets

DRUGS and the inevitability of associated violence have a numbing effect on those they envelop.

Residents of the streets around Cato Road may be shocked by details of the murder of Constable Patrick Dunne but they are not surprised.

The area is typical of inner-city London, with its cheek-by-jowl mixture of public and private housing. The locals know where the trade in drugs takes place. They hear the police sirens, watch the stake-outs of drugs dens and see the gleaming new BMWs and Mercedes, their drug-rich occupants awash with street fashion and gold jewellery.

All this activity creates an atmosphere of daily menace that is routinely absorbed. Deep shock comes only when the violence knocks next door, not the next street.

'The detritus of the drug trade are all around,' says George Walker, 41. Eddison, his collie dog, sniffs out the small plastic bags used in a typical crack transaction on his regular walks of Clapham's streets.

Cato Road itself is a quiet residential street with its Victorian three-storey houses mainly converted into flats. Sewnarine Sadoo, 53, who runs Clapham Estates in Bedford Road, has owned 20 Cato Road for more than 10 years. As an estate agent, he knows the good from the bad and Cato Road's reputation is tatty, but respectable.

Two-bedroom flats fetch pounds 10,000 less than the pounds 70,000 units of Tremadoc Road, the next street. This is a measure of its higher proportion of public housing, rather than any connection to illegality. Houses are worth pounds 150,000 and attract white urban professionals. Mr Sadoo agrees with the street talk that drug dealing is largely done in Landor Road, three roads away but separated by railway lines and the main road to Brixton. 'Landor Road is well known, it's going towards Brixton. That's the nest of drug dealers and they are expanding in all directions.'

Police have set up at least two stake-outs in another local street and a resident taxi driver said he knew a house where drugs could be obtained.

'I've lived here five years and this is relatively recent,' he observed. Khai Hamid, 46, a domestic science lecturer and mother of two teenage children, lived in Cato Road until she was transferred following a burglary.

'I used to be there at number six. It used to be very quiet, I loved it,' she said. 'Drugs are all around and it's very worrying, especially if you have children. It's giving all black people a bad name.'

At Link Cars, opposite the Burger King Drive Thru, the receptionist is hardened to the area's excesses. 'This sort of thing does not surprise me. It doesn't around here, does it?'

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments