London

Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe launches 'war on crime'

Britain's top police officer has launched his "war on crime" as about 4,000 police officers raided homes in a massive one-day crackdown.

Scotland Yard Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe was joined by London Mayor Boris Johnson on one of the raids.

The pair watched as officers smashed their way into a suspected drugs den in Peckham, south-east London.

At least 278 arrests were made as police raided properties in 32 London boroughs.

The Metropolitan Police (Met) conducted 580 operations, searching 264 premises, seizing 39 weapons and closing down 14 drugs houses.

At a raid attended by Mr Hogan-Howe and Mr Johnson, police cautioned a woman in her 50s over possession of cannabis.

'Tackle criminals'

Unlike a previous raid he attended, officers stopped the London mayor entering the second-floor property.

As he left, he remarked that it "may have been because of a scantily-clad lady" inside.

The Met said there would be a "visible" presence as part of the one-day Operation Hawk, which was aimed at targeting drug dealers, anti-social behaviour and other crimes.

Mr Hogan-Howe said the action was part of his "war on crime" agenda.

The operation would "tackle criminals decisively and directly", he said.

Mr Hogan-Howe said: "It's all about responding to local concerns and acting on them to crack down on crime rapidly and effectively.

"The idea is that we take our intelligence to a magistrate, ask for a warrant and 'put the doors in' as quickly as possible right across London.

"It's a renewed emphasis on Safer Neighbourhoods teams making the most of local intelligence and acting on it."

Operation Hawk comes about a month after the Met carried out a day-long operation targeting uninsured drivers across the capital.

More than 500 cars were seized and 66 people arrested in the operation which involved 1,000 officers.

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