IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Top cop in pledge to take back control of Finsbury Park streets

Residents and businesses have reported “open drug dealing and use”

26 July, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Chief Supt Raj Kohli: ‘We are looking at a long-term and holistic approach to the problem’

ISLINGTON’S chief police officer has pledged to return Finsbury Park to “law-abiding citizens” after a spate of violent crimes.

Raj Kohli, borough commander for Islington and Camden, said he and his team have been focusing on the Finsbury Park area for a “number of weeks”.

Residents and businesses have reported “open drug dealing and use” along with increased “purity” of drugs, a briefing document circulated by the police and the council says.

The drugs market then fuels violence in the area.

Finsbury Park is also the borough’s “main hotspot” for vulnerable people who are involved in sex work, begging and rough sleeping, it adds.

Chief Supt Kohli said: “The briefing document is part of the consultation process and the MPS has allocated extra officers into the area. We are looking at a long-term and holistic approach to the problem and it is our intention that, by working with Haringey and Hackney colleagues, we return the park and the immediate area to the law-abiding citizens of the area.”

Islington has the second-highest mortality rate for deaths related to drug misuse in London.

About one in 70 people in Islington use crack and/or opiates, according to Public Health England.

Finsbury Park ward councillor Gary Heather said: “What I see is a lot of really vulnerable individuals. Their mind is only on the next fix and they’re scratching around to make a living.

“The council, the police and support services have got to work closely together – if we’re not more joined-up we’re missing a trick.”

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