Weapons sweeps reveal criminals' hiding places on local estates
Hiding places include under roundabouts in playgrounds
Criminals are stashing knives and drugs under children’s swings, squeezing them into brickwork and even XYZ in attempts to avoid arrest. Hammersmith and Fulham Council officers have also found knives taped to roundabouts, slides and even inside lampposts.
The West London council’s 72 enforcement officers have been regularly sweeping the borough and have previously found Rambo knives and zombie knives in their searches.
Hammersmith and Fulham enforcement officer Ian Brown, who was previously a police officer in Croydon for 24 years, said: “Playgrounds are an ideal spot. We look in everything just to check. Magnets can be attached on roundabouts or swings. Inside lampposts. They will do anything.”
The Local Democracy Reporting Service joined the Met Police and council enforcement officers on patrols around the Normand Park and Clement Atlee and West Kensington estates to find out more about their work. Officers searched abandoned shoes, drinks cans and children’s play equipment to make sure no weapons or drugs had been stashed.
Criminals often use black duct tape to attach weapons or drugs to hidden spots. The day before the LDRS visited, a resident handed officers a switch blade they found in their garden. Officers complete sweeps three to five times a month, as well as regularly searching for weapons while walking around on patrol.
Knives have previously been found with their blades buried in the dirt with just their handles sticking out so their owners can find them.
PC Simon Brett: “Often you come across [weapons or drugs] randomly. There was a stabbing here yesterday so whenever an incident like that happens there could be a retaliation so we need to make sure there is no risk of any weapons.”
During a walkabout, officers beat bushes to see if small bags of drugs would slip out and got on their hands and knees to search through thick shrubbery.
Met Police Sergeant Seb Goulding said, “We are usually making it more difficult for people to use [weapons or drugs]. Drug dealers quite rarely have all their stuff on them. They are going to have it in a location like this where there are [hiding places].
“The neighbourhood teams have done a lot of work here. Hammersmith and Fulham is a very safe place to live and work. We have seen a reduction in offences. We have seen a reduction in homicides.”
When asked what actions have been helping this the sergeant explained weapon sweeps, stop and search and actively looking for suspects had all helped curb crime. Weapons discovered on searches are handed to the Met Police for fingerprinting before being destroyed.
Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter
May 10, 2022