Police patrols increased after Soho crime surge
Residents call for an end to "scourge" of brazen drug dealing and taking on street
21 April, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya
Gun suspect tasered by police did not have a weapon
POLICE have increased patrols after a reported rise in “blatant drug dealing” in Soho.
Bourchier Street, which connects Dean Street and Wardour Street, is a particular hotspot with reports of drug dealers and takers openly injecting drugs.
The move comes as police are investigating a serious assault in Soho on Monday where a man was reportedly hit over the head with a bottle and was punched and kicked on the floor.
On Tuesday police Tasered a man suspected of having a gun. No firearm was recovered, police confirmed yesterday (Thursday).
Musician Neil Drinkwater, who lives in Soho, said: “As a resident you cannot walk the length of the street without being approached at least five times by those desperately in need of something to eat and for the first time I have seen tents in Soho – are we returning to Dickensian Britain?”
He added: “We have more rough sleepers than ever before and the open drug dealing and taking is blatant, and because of the lack of investment in police nothing can be done.
“There is long-term investment required in the community but the government for some reason is unable and/or unwilling to do this.”
Mr Drinkwater recalled coming home after the Easter weekend to find a block including Old Compton Street and Charing Cross Road, cordoned off and seeing a “blood trail” on the pavement.
Soho councillor Paul Church said: “Both Nickie Aiken and I have written to the police calling for urgent action. I live in Soho and saw a man injecting drugs in the doorway next to my flat the other morning. Why should residents have to put up with this sort of behaviour? We will continue to work with the police and to press them to remodel their current policing structure and put more police on Soho’s streets to keep us safe from this scourge.”
In an email sent on April 6 to community representatives and politicians a Soho police officer said: “In response to the ongoing issues in and around Rupert Street and environs (with particular attention to the market, et al) I have, together with my colleagues arranged for a police presence (in addition to the Safer Neighbourhoods Team) every day between (at least) 1-4pm and further coverage during the night for the next two weeks – after which the situation will be reviewed.”