Sunday, December 09, 2012

Operation Condor: Prohibition London

If anyone got robbed, burgled or raped this weekend in London and wondered where the police were when they needed them - hey, they had other things on their mind.

Around 4,000 cops took part in a 48-hour 'Operation Condor' operation to enforce alchohol and other licensing laws. According to The Guardian today: 'Since 8am on Friday police have visited nearly 6,000 premises, where 1,046 offences were reported or disclosed during the operation, dubbed Operation Condor. Twenty-two venues were shut down, including pubs, saunas and massage parlours, with police checking for sex worker cards and that no-drinking zones had been enforced... At least 297 people were arrested for various offences, including 38 for theft, 20 for public order offences, 20 for possessing Class-A drugs, 22 for possessing Class-B drugs, 26 for possession with intent to supply, seven for possessing offensive weapons, 18 for drunkenness, and 52 for immigration offences' (in other words mostly victimless 'crimes' which any fishing expedition rounding up people in bars and clubs would find).

The operation included a show-piece raid on 93 Feet East in Brick Lane on Friday night: 'One of the largest individual operations involved 175 officers, including the Territorial Support Group, the Met police's helicopter and dog units, who raided the 93 Feet East club in Brick Lane after reports of dealers selling Class-A drugs. Police arrested nine people for offences, including possession of drugs with intent to supply, and the club was closed'.

The police have posted some 'raid porn' footage on youtube showing them piling in to 93 Feet East, the message being 'we are big, we are tough, and we mean business'. Ludicrous really, these periodic blitzes have been going for decades and they don't make the slightest difference to the levels of drug taking, or drinking after hours.

helicopter footage showing swarm of police at 93 Feet East 
By they way are the Metropolitan Police aware of the resonance of the term Operation Condor, particularly for the many Latin American migrants in London? It was also the name for a notorious campaign of terror conducted by right wing dictatorships in South America in the 1970s, during which tens of thousands of people were tortured and executed.


John Levin said...

What the hell are "sex worker cards"? The Guardian quote is taken from teh Police's own statement:
There's no state registration of sex workers in this country as far as I know.

John Levin said...

Re my previous comment, I suppose it might be checking for sex worker flyers in telephone booths. Which is hardly something that requires great effort or manpower.

. said...

Yes strange term, when I first read it I thought it was referring to some kind of license for sex work - which of course doesn't exist! But yes I guess it does mean the kind of cards you get in phone boxes.

AlwaysOutPunned said...

I think Hogan Howe likes this occasional dragnet thing where he gets to be in the news. Kind of justifies his existence, though the returns on this investment seem pretty slim. Sounds like they got relatively naff all coke/md and did the cloakroom attendent on immigration.

Re 93 feet east, seems like a strange choice of target given the area. Important and cheap live music venue most nights. At weekends it hosts average house nights full of the outer London crowd that no longer goes to the West End. Maybe some off duty cops got propositioned in there and they decided to raid it.

There are much richer pickings in E2 and E8 for an old fashioned raid, but thankfully also more under the radar.