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  1. ITV Report

'Dealers only' parking space highlights east London drug problem

People living on Columbia Road in East London have put up fake street signs and road markings to complain about drug dealers in their area.

Residents want to send a message about the dealing they say has become a normal part of daily life there. They believe police cuts are making the problem worse.

Drug dealing is a massive issue and I understand why residents are frustrated. Anyone would be if this was happening on their doorstep. This is a major problem in many places and not just Tower Hamlets but the Shoreditch area is a 'hotspot'. This is mainly a criminal matter and we need to see more police officers on the streets. Police are not a council responsibility and Government cuts have had a big effect - in Tower Hamlets we have lost over 200 officers, and this has a real impact on the ground. Too often criminal activity including drug dealing is not being stopped, and like residents I think this is unacceptable. Despite cuts to our own budget my council has funded additional police officers but we cannot replace every officer the government has taken away from our streets. I want the community to know that we share their concerns, this is one of our top priorities and we are pledged to keep working at it.

– John Biggs, Tower Hamlets Mayor