Heavy police presence for ‘Brixton Unite’ operation but Trident’s Total Policing event is scaled down after protests

Brixton unite arrest this
ARRESTS: A suspect is led away from Brixton Tube Station by undercover police. Picture by Darwin Aguirre-Taipe

BY Tim Dickens and Darwin Aguirre-Taipe

A heavy police presence at Brixton Tube Station led to a number of arrests this afternoon as part of a planned police operation.

As a part of a larger project planned today, called Brixton Unite, officers were out in force stopping members of the public as they left the station.

The police day of action included British Transport Police, Trident Gang Command, the Tactical Support Group (TSG) and local officers. There were also 20 stalls in Windrush Square handing out information to encourage young people into training and work.

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Ranks of police inside the station. Picture by @Poeticat on Twitter

The event – organised together with Lambeth council – was originally planned to include UK Border Agency action, evictions, dawn raids and knife arches, but these plans were scrapped after heavy criticism from activist Lee Jasper yesterday.

The Brixton Blog was outside Brixton Tube station as police, some in plain clothes, brought out arrested suspects in handcuffs.

Brixton unite who killed smiley culture
WHO KILLED SMILEY CULTURE? pi by Darwin Aguirre-Taipe

One passer-by, named Maliki, said: “I think it’s overwhelming and scary for the children, it should be more discrete. It’s just too much, it just gives Brixton a bad name.”

She added that she doesn’t feel any safer with this amount of police out, feeling that this was just done to impress.

Commenting on Brixton Blog, Andrew Watson said; “The money spent on this type of PR event would be much better spent providing community policing with increased foot patrols.”

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TSG police make checks on Electric Avenue. Pic Tim Dickens

Police were also present outside Brixton overground station and some traffic stops were performed behind the Brixton Academy in Stockwell Park Walk . Elsewhere TSG officers patrolled Electric Avenue speaking to traders and reportedly asking questions about immigration.

Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Neighbourhoods, said: “We are working with the community to make sure the gang problems don’t return. The recent fatalities show how urgent this work is.

“We are doing all we can, and now we want the people from our communities to take responsibility for these issues. .

“We don’t want that void to be filled by others who will potentially carry on perpetrating harm on their own community. We need local people to embrace the opportunities on offer and help those at risk of committing offences avoid the lifestyle that inevitably leads to prison, poverty and misery for all affected.”

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Another arrest outside Brixton Tube . Pic by @Muzrobertson

Lee Jasper, who yesterday likened the plans to the Operation Swamp tactics in Brixton in 1981 that went on to spark wide scale riots, said the main body of the policing operation had been cancelled at the last minute after pressure from him and the Community Police Consultative Group (CPCG).

He said: “The whole operation has now been down scaled and replaced by a small scale crime awareness event and some parking and ticket tout activity.

“Many thanks to those who supported the efforts to prevent this happening.”

Detective Chief Inspector Claire Crawley, Trident Central Gangs Unit, said: “Trident has been working in Lambeth since June 2013, not only from an enforcement side but also working in partnership with an extensive network of providers who can support and provide opportunities to exit a gang culture.

“Brixton Unite demonstrates Lambeth’s communities coming together to support the fight against gang crime and should send a message to those involved in gangs that there is a way out and that there are organisations we can put them in touch with that will help turn their lives around, from mentors, to education centres to potential employers.”

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Pic: Darwin Aguirre-Taipe


stop search this
Pic: Darwin Aguirre-Taipe
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Lambeth College students serve food on Windrush Square as police look on. Pic @Poeticat




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  3. Hopefully the police will find their way along Brixton Hill and gain some control over a situation which meant I was threatened and almost mugged in the early hours of this morning whilst walking my dog – now rendering my home turf a no-go zone.

  4. Yeah, I’ve lived here for twenty years too, and I think Alton is talking crap. Notably this comment is not from the perspective of a black londoner who has been stopped and searched & harrased by plod all their lives. Like it or not, Brixton has a long history with police racism. You don’t feel safe living in a poverty stricken inner city area? Fine, move back to mummy and daddy in the home counties and leave us to get on.

    • Ditto, ditto, ditto, yes, yes, yes, ………..agree with you completely MarcD!!! Leave us with the Brixton we know and love!!!!!

  5. When Lee Jasper was earning in excess of £120,000 p.a. as the Mayor of London’s “Director of Equalities & Policing, what exactly did he do to address crime in and around Brixton? I am sure that I saw at least one televised documentary that showed that he was a regular visitor to New Scotland Yard.

    Incidentally, would he not have been one of the people the Metropolitan Police consulted about the very same event about which he now complains?

    it is not at all clear what this publicity stunt actually achieved?

    Were the British Transport Police expecting to see many of the “gangsters” about whom we frequently hear from newcomers to Brixton coming off the tube?

  6. Criminals have been coming to Brixton for years, as they could get away with things here that they can’t elsewhere, good to see the Police presence.

  7. Mike – but how was this operation ‘tackling gang crime’? Checking people’s Oyster cards, searching for drugs and arresting people for saying ‘fuck’ doesn’t add up to much in my book.

  8. Aged 75, I was there yesterday and it did not seem to me to be the least bit oppressive.

    Seems to me that the Police are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t take action to tackle gang crime.

  9. Alton/Dave – Show me the same scale police operation targeting white, middle-class cocaine users (who directly support gang activity) as they exit the tube or train in Notting Hill or East Dulwich and you may have a point. Do you think it’s a coincidence that this operation was mounted on the same day as the Ellison review on the Stephen Lawrence case? The Met were sending a message. Suppression, control and fear. Job done.

    And before you start bleating about ‘pressure groups’, I’m a white, educated 41 year old professional who has lived in Brixton for 15 years and consider it the safest place I’ve ever lived in, both inside London and out.

    • In the last few years alone one of my friends had been held at knife point on her doorstep and forced to let the attackers into her house, another person I know was punched in the face on Stockwell Avenue and had her bag stolen, an elderly lady was attacked by a youth on a bus on the high street and a child paralysed for life in a shooting in a newsagent on Stockwell Road. This has all happened in the last few years within a couple of minutes from where I live. Are you living in the same Brixton as me? I love it here but just want the crime problem to be sorted. It’s time we started to take a harder stand on crime and stopped protecting the criminals. The police presence is reassuring, hardly intimidating.

      • Not sure how this operation deals with the type of crime you are reporting. Seems that some kind of police intelligence is needed to sort that out and not one-off spectacles announced in advance that also piss off people trying to get in and out of the tube.

    • Exactly. You see this kind of harassment of brown skinned people in Brixton, Elephant, Tottenham… yet to once see the same for rich white people in Kensington or Belgravia or with those wankers in Chelsea. Four drug arrests, big wow. I don’t pay taxes for these clowns to stage PR exercises winding the community up.

  10. Couldn’t agree more Alton. Just another case of Jasper and co shooting their mouths off.

  11. Great that the police and Lambeth are taking crime so seriously. Think there should be more operations like this. It’s not intimidating at all, that is unless you have something to hide. In fact as a long standing resident it makes me feel safer. Lambeth needs to toughen up and stop giving into pressure groups which have their own agenda that doesn’t consider how crime is adversely affected the wider community. For too long Brixton has been terrorised by gangs and criminals. It’s time to clean up the streets.

    • Why can’t you admit there’s a problem with consent with policing in Brixton, e.g. they don’t have it from the wider community – and by that I don’t mean exclusively white middle class men like you, bleating about street crime but curiously silent about police harassment of black people. They lied about Duggan. They killed Sean Rigby in a police cell. They never are accountable for all the deaths at their hands. You expect people just to accept this? The community won’t put up with their fishing expeditions lightly, you don’t like that then feel free to move somewhere else. You clearly don’t understand a damn thing about how others view the met.

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