London

Soho vice clean-up nets more than 50 arrests

More than 50 arrests, including 10 for supplying Class A drugs, were made over the weekend in a new "clean-up Soho" push by police and council staff.

Increased patrols have been touring the area to combat what they describe as an "open-air drugs market" and to clamp down on unlicensed sex premises.

Businesses are to be linked to police by a new radio system and dark street corners eliminated under the scheme.

The partnership wants a new vision for Soho before the London 2012 Olympics.

'Vibrant and safe'

The partnership is focusing on the clean-up through the use of CCTV, increased police visibility and the recruitment of specials to enable more foot patrols.

A Westminster Council spokeswoman said: "The vision is that Soho will no longer be somewhere to come to score drugs or visit unlicensed sex premises but a vibrant and safe night out.

"The crime and grime clampdown is part of a key pledge made by the council to help rid Soho of its seedy reputation as part of its Living City programme.

"Evidence shows that by improving the area's streets at the same time as tackling crime, authorities can help achieve long-term benefits for an area."

She said increased street lighting and work to tackle recessed doorways was being carried out to reduce the number of "dark corners"

"The council are bringing entrances forward to street level to reduce the covered areas for drug deals to take place," she said.

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