|New Laws Used in Acton Crack House Shut Down|
Ealing Police, Acton Housing Association and Ealing Council join forces to tackle Drugs
Ealing Police have made the first use of new powers granted to them earlier this year in what they say is a more direct approach in the fight against crime in the borough.
In consultation with the Council they have issued two court orders closing two flats in Acton on the grounds that they were being used for unlawful drug use.
Over the last couple of months the quality of life and daily routines of the residents in York Road, Acton have been disrupted by anti social behaviour activities and suspected drugs use from addresses in the area. Local residents have contacted the police and council over a period of time with detailed accounts of their experiences. The information proved pivotal to enabling them to implement this new power.
The Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) Act 2003 gave police new powers to authorise the closure of premises used for unlawful drug use and apply to any premises, whether residential or not. This power can only be used in consultation with local authorities.
Ealing Police implemented these new powers for the first time at 0.40pm on Wednesday 14th April 2004 in Flats at 93 York Road, Acton in partnership with Ealing Council and Acton Housing Association.
A closure notice was issued to the residents of the flats outlining, that applications will be made for the closure of the premises to Ealing magistrates in the next 48 hours. The notice also supplied information about names of and means of, contacting persons and organisations in the area that provide advice about housing and legal matters.
On Friday 16th April, Ealing Borough police and Acton Housing Association attended Ealing Magistrates court and were granted the closure order in relation to one of the flats. The closure order is an order that closes the premises to the residents for a period not exceeding three months. Ealing Police did not apply to Ealing Magistrates Court for a closure order in relation to the second flat as there was insufficient evidence to proceed.
On Monday 19th April Ealing Police and Acton Housing Association representatives entered the flat and successfully evicted the residents. The closure order also grants authority for the police or an authorised person to do what ever is reasonably necessary to secure the premises and evict the tenants.
No arrests were made during the issue of the closure order and contractors have now secured the premises against re-entry by any person or resident. Failure to comply with the closure order could lead to residents or unauthorised occupants of the premises receiving a fine or up to 6 months in prison.
Acton Housing Association will now begin to locate suitable tenants to replace those evicted. An application will then be made to the Magistrates court to lift the closure order on the premises.
PC Alex Jardine of Ealing Crime Squad said, “The closure of these premises was only possible with the invaluable assistance of Ealing residents coming forward with information regarding antisocial behaviour and drug use. This acted as a catalyst for a Police operation, in partnership with Ealing Council, to tackle this problem, which resulted in today’s closure."
Peter Griffin Tenancy Enforcement Manager of Acton Housing Association said, “Acton Housing Association is determined to tackle anti social behaviour within the community by working in partnership with the police and other agencies. The new Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 increases our powers to deal effectively with all anti social behaviour associated with Class A drugs and other issues.”
Cllr Shital Manro, LBE cabinet member for community safety praised residents and police saying that the action made the Borough a safer place to live and sent a strong message that drug dealing would not be tolerated in the borough.