Suspected drug dealers as young as 14 have been arrested during dawn raids across Westminster.
More than 200 police officers swooped on addresses including Churchill Gardens and Warwick Estate in Pimlico arresting 19 suspected dealers.
At one address in Chaucer house a small plastic bag believed to contain cannabis and cash was see being thrown from a window as officers broke into the property. A 19-year-old man was arrested at this address.
The operation followed a five month investigation by Westminster’s proactive police unit that found there was an open drugs market peddling cannabis, heroin, crack cocaine and MDMA in parts of the borough controlled by violent local gangs.
Officers recovered mobile phones, money and what is believed to be quantities of cannabis.
Weapons sweeps also found four knives, a golf club and a pair of scissors. All of these items had been hidden around the estate.
Acting Detective Chief Inspector Philip Grindell said: “Today’s series of warrants and arrests are as a direct result of concerns we have had from residents and we are committed to listening to the local community and making Westminster a safer borough for people to live and work in.
He added: “Our work addressing these issues on the borough does not end here today and over the coming weeks we will continue to provide a visible and reassuring police presence across Westminster.”
As of 9am, 18 men have been arrested for supplying controlled drugs (Class A and B) between the 7 January and the 15 April.
One woman was arrested for possession of a Class A drug.
Those arrested were taken to a central London police station where they currently remain in custody.
The raids, which formed part of Operation Accomack, drew on the Met’s pan London resources including the Territorial Support Group (TSG), Dog Support Unit (DSU) and financial investigators involved.
Plans have been put forward to set up a neighbourhood office which will be located in Churchill Gardens and to increase patrols from the Neighbourhood Policing Team.
A public meeting will also take place tomorrow at the Churchill Gardens Hall giving residents the opportunity to get an update following today’s arrests as well as allowing them to voice any further concerns they may have.