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Met chief joins drug raids

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe says neighbourhood policing teams would now become more involved in such operations as part of budget cuts Credit: Dominic Lipinski /PA Wire

One of Britain's top officers took part in a series of dawn raids during a drugs crackdown across the capital today.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe joined Operation Hawk, which involves stamping out drug dealers in London.

More than 500 drugs warrants were executed by hundreds of officers as part of Operation Hawk, in a crackdown on street-level drug dealing in 32 London boroughs.

The force also launched a "mock cannabis farm" inside an old police command vehicle, which will be shown to communities across London to help raise awareness.

A real cannabis farm, discovered in Rushyfords, Co Durham Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

The mock cannabis farm is complete with equipment recovered from farms, including fans, lights, cables and other paraphernalia. Officers will be on hand to explain the dangers of growing cannabis.

One of the cannabis farms closed as part of Operation Hawk Credit: Metropolitan Police

Commander Stephen Watson, who led today's raids said: "Drug dealing and cannabis cultivation damage communities and generate organised and violent crime, money laundering and anti-social behaviour.

"The MPS is determined to tackle this issue head on with the assistance of London's communities, many of whom cite tackling drugs as a priority for local safer neighbourhoods teams.

"While activity to tackle drug dealing has always been a high priority for the MPS, with major operations carried out with partners against high-level drug dealers on a regular basis, Operation Hawk's focus is to increase operational activity on drug dealing at neighbourhood level."