Knife crime: residents help Shadwell & Wapping SNT with weapons sweep

Wapping residents helped out the Shadwell and Wapping Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) yesterday to search St George-in-the-East Gardens Shadwell for hidden weapons.

On a glorious spring day residents gathered by Cable Street mural to receive a brief from the Shadwell SNT. Even Moley turned up! But then he does like digging for clues…

The purpose of the hidden weapons sweep was two-fold. Firstly to try and find any knives or similar offensive weapons that had been hidden somewhere in the Gardens for retrieval as and when needed.

Secondly to send a clear message out to anyone even thinking about stashing a weapon away that it was highly likely it would be found in this sweep or the next – so not to bother!

Before we started everyone was given a short, sharp and to the point brief. Two residents teamed up with each police officer.

Real teamwork

Key message of the day was for us residents to only conduct a visual search and if we found anything suspicious to tell our accompanying police officer who would do the police stuff like correctly preserving any evidence for forensic analysis.

Moley was not at all bothered that he would not be able to do any digging as he had no interest in finding a discarded syringe with his paws. Not a nice thought.

The Gardens were split into designated search areas and off we went.

For the next hour we all got stuck in, searching underneath every bush, the skinniest of plants, behind rubbish bins, under benches, the tops of walls, inside trees, inside rubbish bins, behind gravestones, around railings, anywhere that a weapon could be concealed.

As the search progressed and one area was cleared the teams would move to another and search again.

Gandalf was rarely seen without a decent search stick.

Doing stuff for real

And you know what? It was great.

Why? Because instead of writing or analysing stuff Moley and the other residents were actually doing stuff! Community policing is too often used as a handy catchphrase, but this was real community policing, police officers and local residents working with each other on the ground to the benefit of everyone.

Another added benefit is spending time getting to know our SNT teams as individuals.

Sticky issue

The only real problem we encountered was a distinct lack of suitable search sticks. Nothing fancy, just good solid sticks which could be used to poke around and allow us to have a good look inside bushes and patches of stinging nettles.

Is there such a thing as a search stick? Or are there just different size sticks? Who knows.

At the end of our hours search we had not find much and certainly not any offensive weapons. But no matter – we had all sent a message out that our green spaces are not for hiding weapons in and that if people do hide them they will be found.

Moley and all the other residents really enjoyed ourselves and are looking forward to the next weapons sweep. Next time it could be in St. George’s Gardens or it could be somewhere in Wapping.

For obvious reasons the precise search locations are not advertised too far ahead of time.

Many thanks to Shadwell SNT and Wapping SNT for looking after us.

Keep your eyes on LW for news of the next sweep and please do come along.

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