Letter: Landor Road: a street ruled by drugs and crime

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your feature on drug-dealing in and around Landor Road ('The street where I live', 2 November) did a good job in highlighting the scale of this problem and how savagely it disrupts the lives of local people. As a local resident, it was unsurprising that the author of the piece wants to remain anonymous.

Despite the understandable frustration and anger expressed so effectively in the article, it is true that the local police are tackling the situation. However, they have to work with limited powers, limited personnel, and frankly sometimes only the limited support of the law.

Where there are drugs, violence and theft soon follow, and the number of firearms in the Brixton area is staggering. Although there have been highly successful operations, with many guns being seized, it is still the case that unless 'intent' can be proved, there will usually just be a fine for the relatively minor offence of possessing a firearm without a certificate. In the context of Landor Road, and so soon after the horrific shooting of PC Patrick Dunne just a few streets away, surely it is time we politicians did our part to toughen the law?

The Brixton police and the local community are leading the anti- drugs campaign, hand in hand, in an effort to break this vicious circle. Saturation policing is not the answer - it would only temporarily shift the problem. What is needed is a concerted, better co- ordinated strategy to clean up these problem areas, such as the highly successful recent operations in nearby Railton Road and Loughborough Road. As well, we need to tackle the reasons behind this crime, so we can stop it spiralling further out of control. There are several anti-drugs projects in the area, and a whole number of other initiatives to provide a real alternative to the culture of drugs-related crime.

In the meantime, I back the call for a significant uniformed presence, and support continuing covert police drugs operations. It is simply not acceptable in 1993 that our street corners can routinely be crowded with drug-dealers. In the streets and homes around Landor Road, there really is the sense that enough is enough.

Yours sincerely,

KATE HOEY

MP for Vauxhall (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

2 November

(Photograph omitted)

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