Page last updated at 20:42 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010

Met Police sorry after disrupting Hackney funeral

St John's Churchyard
The searches were carried out in St John's Churchyard

The Metropolitan Police and Hackney Council have apologised after 83 people were searched in a churchyard while a funeral was being held.

They were taken to a marquee put up in St John's Churchyard, in Hackney, after being arrested elsewhere as part of an operation targeting youth knife crime.

The council admitted it was wrong to allow the police operation to be held at the same time as the funeral.

The vicar and family of the deceased could not be contacted for comment.

"Hackney Council apologises for the part it played in the upset caused to mourners by the presence of a police marquee set up on private land in St John's Churchyard," a council spokeswoman said.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused to the local community throughout the course of the evening's activity
Met spokeswoman

"We made a mistake by allowing this operation to take place at the same time as the funeral and are putting measures in place to ensure that this does not happen again."

A Met spokeswoman said it had agreed with the council that the churchyard could be used some time ago.

"It was a facility to carry out searches of individuals and allowed for case disposal - officers were able to issue warnings at the centre as opposed to having to take an individual into custody," she added.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused to the local community throughout the course of the evening's activity."

Some £750,000 of heroin was seized during the operation, police said.

Arrests were made for offences ranging from grievous bodily harm and possession of offensive weapons to possession of class A drugs.



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