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Operation Continuum

Why are we conducting Operation Continuum in Tower Hamlets?

drugs raid house2-1

Operation Continuum was launched in December 2017 in response to ongoing reports of drug dealing, drug use and associated criminality by residents. Tower Hamlets faces high levels of crime, violence and knife crime, and is also estimated to have one of the highest prevalence of opiate and crack users in London. It is believed there is a strong correlation between the violence to the supply of Class A and Class B drugs, which links to other safeguarding risks such as criminal exploitation of young people and vulnerable adults. As a response to these concerns, Mayor John Biggs convened key agencies across the Community Safety Partnership to develop Operation Continuum, an enhanced package of collaborative action to tackle crime, disorder and violence linked to the street based drug markets. The partnership approach for these operations has enabled the council and partners to use local knowledge, experience and resources to support the Police to disrupt and enforce, using a broader range of powers and interventions to arrest and convict perpetrators of crime and the anti-social behaviour linked to the drugs markets. This has included, using Housing Act legislation and ASB Crime & Policing Act legislation (such as civil injunctions, premises closure notices and Criminal Behaviour Orders) to address the most high risk and entrenched offending.

How does Operation Continuum work?

Following intelligence and information led Police raids, the council’s Community Safety Team coordinates council resources and partners to be deployed to the area, conducting highly visible activity in support of the operation and to provide reassurance to those residents affected. The council activities are maintained for a full week with a focus on providing information, outreach and community reassurance. As these operations have developed, information sharing and appropriate council and police activities have been planned in advance to support the operation. This has included officers from the Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams, Partnership Task Force (council funded Police Officers), Tower Hamlets Homes Police Team, CCTV Team, Clean and Green Team, Commercial Waste and Enforcement Team, Street Population Team, Trading Standards, Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers, Substance Misuse Team (to provide outreach and support), Licensing Officers, ASB Investigation Team, Community Safety Team, Communications Team and Tower Hamlets Homes and other Housing Providers

Operation Continuum is our collective partnership response to the crime, ASB and violence associated with street based drugs. It represents an enhanced package of measures that compliments robust policing, allowing us to work together to make a bigger, impact and more sustainable difference for our residents.

Operation Continuum is here to stay and we will continue the local partnership operations in 2019, refining our tactics to improve the work we do and to inform the public more effectively.

Action taken

To date, Operation Continuum has been implemented in Shadwell, Stepney, Bow, Whitechapel, St Peters and Weavers wards. We have achieved some very significant results and continue to commit to conducting these operations borough-wide. To share these results, select the links below to review infographics on these operations so far: 

  • Cumulative results for all Operations (December 2017 - March 2019)
  • 140 warrants executed/properties raided, including 4 businesses selling Cannabis
  • 345 total arrests, of which 276 arrests were for drug offences and drug supply
  • 115 people charged with a combined total of 207 drug supply charges
  • 44 men sentenced to a combined total of more than 118 years' imprisonment
  • Large quantities of Class A drugs and Cannabis seized
  • £331k in cash seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act
  • 46 weapon sweeps conducted and 39 weapons recovered including knives and other offensive weapons 
  • 4 firearms recovered during raids
  • 481 stop and searches conducted
  • 417 ASB Warnings issued
  • 119 people arrested, assessed and referred in to drug treatment
  • 19 vehicles seized in connection to drug supply
  • 51 high visibility/reassurance Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officer foot patrols to drug dealing hotspots
  • 26 Rapid Response Team outreach sessions to identify and engage with young people/young adults concerned with ASB, drug dealing and drug use
  • 326 Commercial Waste inspections resulting in over 226 enforcement actions on businesses and traders

2019 Operation Continuum results


2017-2018 Operation Continuum results

Post operations - news and events

We have been busy working with our partners to ensure Operation Continuum activities and results are shared widely with the public. In case you missed any of these and wanted to see the operations in action, use the links below for further information:

Useful contacts

The council, police and partners would encourage the public to keep reporting their concerns around drug dealing and drug use. Use this simple guide for further information, and the range of reporting services available below:

  • Call 999: in an emergency, if there is a crime occurring or there is a threat to life

  • Call 101: for ASB (including drug dealing). If drug dealing is happening outside of a school or playground, call 999

  • Report crime, ASB and drug dealing online to the Police. For drug dealing select ‘Antisocial behaviour’

  • Report ASB associated to drug dealing/drug use online to the council

  • Call Crime Stoppers to report any crime anonymously on 0800 555 111