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Top cop: Don’t panic if you see more police

Operation aims to tackle violent crime around Finsbury Park tube station

10 July, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

RESIDENTS of Finsbury Park have been warned not to panic as they see a greater policing presence in the area, after the launch of an operation to tackle violent crime near the Tube station

Four arrests, including that of a man carrying 23 stolen credit cards, were made near the station last Friday as a joint Met Police and British Transport Police operation was launched.

Police launched the operation after consulting with Finsbury Park residents on what they thought were the biggest issues police should be focusing on in the area.

Speaking to the Tribune, Islington’s senior police officer Chief Supt Raj Kohli said the operation launch was “very successful”, and added he was glad his officers were being questioned by the public.

Asked if his officers had recently experienced a more hostile response in light of the Black Lives Matter protests, he said: “I wouldn’t call it hostile. There is more questioning around legitimacy at the moment, ‘why do we have to move from here, why are you stopping us’. That is fine. The public can ask those questions. And they should.

Chief Supt Raj Kohli

“The vast bulk of people I work with are good people. But this negative media coverage does chip away at the soul, the never ending push back – people forget we are trying to stop young people killing each other. Stop and Search is not the solution, but it helps. It may not be perfect but it helps.”

He added: “If we find drugs we won’t necessarily arrest, we can give a ticket or just give a verbal warning. We probably have nearly 100 brand new officers come to us, just like learner drivers they are trying their best but there is the occasional stall or wrong turning.”

Officers erected a “knife arch” outside the station, and cleared a number of people from the area for anti-social behaviour.

The three other arrests included a wanted robber in possession of a mobile phone stolen that same day, a suspected drug dealer and a man suspected of breaching his sex offender register conditions.

Police Sergeant Joe Johnson, of the Met’s Finsbury Park and Tollington neighbourhood policing team, said: “We have listened to the com­munity, and it is clear that the whole community wants to see police in the Finsbury Park area tack­ling this criminal activity.

“Following on from Friday’s activity at the station, we have carefully planned a number of other operations in the coming days and weeks that will help reduce crime and tackle other problems in this area.”

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