Hundreds arrested in London licensing crackdown
10:17am Sunday 26th February 2012 in Croydon
Hundreds of people have been arrested as police target businesses across London suspected of flouting licensing laws.
A widespread crackdown by about 3,000 police has seen thousands of shops, pubs, and clubs across London's 32 boroughs visited in one of the Metropolitan Police's biggest operations this year.
Police have been the look out for drug taking and other illegal activity inside pubs, and checking that alcohol was sold and consumed in line with licensing laws.
In shops and supermarkets, they have taken action against people selling alcohol, cigarettes and knives to children, and those who have not correctly checked the history of second hand goods for sale.
Driving licence fraud and illegal taxi touts have also been targeted.
Latest figures show 12 pubs and clubs have been shut down, and large numbers of counterfeit goods seized.
4896 premises have been visited, with police identifying 658 licensing breaches, and arresting 420 people.
The operation is due to finish today.
Commander Mak Chishty, leading the operation, said: "Licensing laws are there for good reason as they help protect us from danger. Breaking them is not acceptable.
"Operation Condor is about keeping our communities safe from harm. In our shops and supermarkets this means people do not sell knives, harmful substances or alcohol to young people; in our pubs and clubs it means that alcohol is sold and consumed in a responsible way, on our roads it means that vehicles, such as taxis are properly licensed and safe."
"This is why so many of my officers were out yesterday and are busy today stopping cars at transport hotspots to check for correct documentation, visiting newsagents, off-licences, supermarkets and betting shops to ensure and test licensing laws are being followed correctly.
"We are also targeting pubs and clubs to make sure they are strictly applying their permits and to ensure any informal sales of goods or drugs on their premises are dealt with appropriately."
"Licensing impacts upon everyday community life; The results of unlicensed activity on our streets can find the form of underage drinkers acting unsociably close to where we live, unlicensed mini-cabs endangering passengers by making uninsured journeys and also shops who potentially encourage the circulation of stolen items by not correctly checking the history of second hand goods offered for sale."
Kit Malthouse, deputy mayor for policing and crime, said: "Most criminal networks profit from illegal licensing, whether it's selling alcohol illegally or giving youngsters access to harmful weapons.
"Cracking down on this activity means we'll see a knock on effect of a drop in robberies, violence and anti social behaviour, which is good news for Londoners."