Brothels and drug dealing among priorities for new council-funded police team

Barking and Dagenham Council is funding a new police team. Picture: Ken Mears

Barking and Dagenham Council is funding a new police team. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Barking and Dagenham has unveiled its new council-funded policing team that will be tasked with closing brothels, preventing illegal traveller camps and tackling drug dealing.

The nine police officers and one police sergeant replace the now defunct estates team, which was in operation since 2016.

The estates team, which was funded by the Met and leaseholders and tenants, had 16 PCs and two sergeants - more than twice the number of the new task force.

Officers were regularly patrolling all council housing properties in the borough as well as other problem areas nominated by the housing department for "priority patrols".

However, the council has promised at least four officers from the new task force will be on duty every day of the week under the new plans and will "predominantly be responsible for tackling crimes identified as a priority by the local authority".

Cllr Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, said: "We have suffered from massive government cuts to the police and lost 1,000 officers from the East Area Police Basic Command Unit since 2010. Resident safety is one of our top priorities and that is why we are prepared to pump money into policing.

"The new taskforce will pick up where the estates team left-off, tackling issues that we know have a significant impact on our communities and the lives of people who live in them."