A DAY after hundreds of police officers swooped on a notorious road dubbed 'Crack Street', a community meeting was held to reassure people of their safety.
Borough police commander, Chief Superintendent Mark Toland, was among community leaders and residents who attended the discussion about Church End's drug scene at St Mary's Church Hall last Thursday.
The meeting followed a series of raids where drugs were found hidden in bushes, bins, letterboxes, under car wheel arches and in the door frames of shops.
Dealers had taken over Church Road, which was being run as a drug market in which some locals were afraid to leave their homes at night.
People from all over London travelled to the street to buy their drugs and dealers knew it was one of the best places to carry out their business, according to police.
But during the past 18 months undercover officers were deployed into the community and mixed with the criminals to find out who were the main dealers.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Toland said: "There was a huge risk to our officers. They had to take on a whole new persona. They had to get involved in crime.
"On a number of occasions they were challenged and it was quite frightening but they eventually became part of the crowd."
Last week's raids were the second phase of Operation Soto - aimed at taking dealers off Brent's streets.
More people were arrested after raids at Spicey Nicey, a fast food restaurant; Jetmax, a computer shop; and Xawaaladda Amal Express, an internet café as part of the same operation. Spicey Nicey has been closed.
Last month, police targeted the main suppliers of several crack cocaine and heroin networks. The latest raids were aimed at taking out the street level dealers.
During the meeting people clapped and cheered when they were told work had finally begun on installing CCTV cameras on Church Road.
There will be a live feed direct to Wembley Police Station which will allow officers to monitor the footage by the end of the year.
But one concerned resident said CCTV was not enough and called for a 24/7 police presence in the area. He said: "CCTV is pretty good but we want to see physically more police on a 24-hour basis."