Police launch dawn raids on racists

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The Independent Online

Police today targeted known racists in a series of dawn raids across London.

Scotland Yard detectives arrested a number of people across the city as part of Operation Athena, co-ordinated by the Metropolitan Police racial and violent crimes task force.

Those arrested are alleged to have committed offences ranging from the publication of racist material to racially aggravated assaults.

Detective Chief Superintendent John Godsave, who headed today's operation, said: "Our aim is to create a hostile environment for those who, because of racism and prejudice, wish to undermine communities and destroy the principle of justice for all, regardless of colour, race, creed or sexual orientation.

"The community safety units in all 32 boroughs specifically target those who perpetrate racist and violent crimes in their communities.

"Every day the police officers in these units are working to stamp out hate crime and make their communities safer for those people who live and work there.

"Our goal is to eradicate the fear and distress caused by hate crime. Operation Athena is a step forward in achieving this."

The community safety units were set up in June 1999 and work with the community, councils and other relevant agencies to protect the victims of hate crime and domestic violence.

As part of Operation Athena they are working to raise the profile of racial and hate crime.