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After two years of intensive policing, a road blighted by drugs, firearms, robberies and intimidating gangs has seen a drastic improvement, claim officers.

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Heath Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) say Althorne Way in Dagenham, has been largely freed of gang-related crime and anti-social behaviour following regular police patrols, more than 100 arrests and three ASBOs.

Speaking to the Post last week, some residents said the area felt a little safer since the extra policing was put in to force but one woman, Steph Preston, claimed the problems have increased over the past couple of years.

The 20-year-old said: “There are lots of fights still and a gang that hang around near the shops. I still don’t feel safe. The police need to do more.”

In 2009 the street was listed as a Safer Neighbourhood policing priority due to gang activity, drugs and anti-social behaviour.

In October that year, following information from residents, a police search of the area was carried out and five firearms were found along with ammunition and a large quantity of drugs in the communal storage areas of the flats.

More than 20 gang members persistently loitered in the area intimidating residents, openly dealing and using drugs.

Officers formulated a policing plan which saw plain clothed and highly visible officers patrol the area on a regular basis, resulting in more than 100 arrests in two and half years.

Three ASBOs were also issued to key members of a gang.

Sgt for Heath SNT, Rob Simmonds, said: “At one point this group appeared to believe they were untouchable. It has taken in excess of two years, but no-one is exempt from the law.”

Resident Oliver Malcolm, 39, said the area had seen a improvement since the police crackdown began: “For a while there were a lot of young people loitering around and causing a nuisance but it’s better now. I think the police have made a difference.”

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