London’s Deputy Mayor for policing and crime Sophie Linden has visited Barnet to hear how a ground-breaking police operation has led to hundreds of arrests.

The ‘Clear, Hold, Build’ framework, centred on the Grahame Park Estate in Colindale, has seen local officers from the Metropolitan Police Service engage in a coordinated crackdown on
gang-related and organised crime in the area.

Figures show that since the operation began in July last year, officers have made 311 arrests– including 60 for Class A drug offences. The crackdown has led to the seizure of £30,000 in cash, 55kg in Class A drug blocks, over 2,000 wraps of Class A, and 6kg of cannabis. Officers have recovered eight firearms and 52 knives or other weapons.

Local officers have been aided by a £2.3million upgrade and expansion of Barnet Council’s CCTV network, which has a new control room located in Colindale.

The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime visited the estate for a briefing on the outcomes of the first phase and other community safety initiatives.

Built in the 1970s and currently undergoing regeneration, the Grahame Park Estate has previously been affected by high crime rates. Responding to residents’ concerns around anti-social behaviour and drug dealing in the area, the Met trialled a new approach that is aimed at disrupting crime and preventing it from returning.

Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, said: “It has been good to see such strong partnership work here in Colindale and to hear about the real difference that this policing approach is already making to the sense of safety and quality of life in Grahame Park Estate.”

Police have now moved from the ‘Clear’ to the ‘Hold’ phase of the operation, which is designed to stabilise the area and stop offenders from moving in to fill the void. The ‘Build’ phase will see community-driven action to address the causes of crime and prevent it from happening again.

Bina Omare, Chief Executive of Colindale Communities Trust, said: “The Clear, Hold, Build pilot has highlighted the strength of partnerships and listening to the voice of the community.”

Detective Superintendent Will Lexton-Jones, in charge of delivering Clear, Hold, Build for the Met, said: “I am delighted with the progress made and the ambition embodied by everyone involved in making Grahame Park Estate a safer place to live. The Met will continue to work closely with the local authority and other key partners to design out crime, ensure offenders are kept out of Barnet and to help build a thriving community.”