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Home Breaking The Met is using innovative tactics to target violent gangs, drug dealing and the associated violence that causes harm to London’s communities

The Met is using innovative tactics to target violent gangs, drug dealing and the associated violence that causes harm to London’s communities

Officers are working closely with others and employing a tactic known as Clear, Hold, Build to bear down on criminals who blight communities.

In a series of early morning raids today (Tuesday, 28 February) Specialist Crime officers made ten arrests as they proactively pursue gang members in north Westminster.

The arrests were the latest chapter in a wider operation targeting a high harm gang linked to firearms offences, city lines drug dealing and exploitation.

It has already led to the seizure of four firearms, 61 rounds of ammunition, 43kg of cannabis, 5.5kg of cocaine, 3kg of heroin and around £50,000 in cash.

An additional 27 people have also been arrested previously on suspicion of offences including weapons possession, drugs offences and violence.

Detective Chief Inspector Ben Mahoney, who is leading the operation, said: “This operation is the culmination of months of intense work targeting this violent gang.

“But it is only one step to clear this area and break the ongoing cycle of misery and violent crime that this gang fuels.

“We are working closely with our own neighbourhood teams, officers from the area’s gangs unit and Specialist Crime, to hold these streets and prevent others filling the void.

“I am confident that with this side-by-side approach, which goes far beyond enforcement, we can help communities build a thriving future.”

Cllr Aicha Less, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities Public Protection and Licencing on Westminster City Council said:

“We work hard to ensure residents feel safe and everyone feels welcome in Westminster.

So, I am grateful to the Metropolitan Police for combatting gang activity and taking it off the streets. There is absolutely no place for criminal behaviour like this in our City.

“Working to confront gang crime is part of the council’s wider ASB strategy and by working in partnership with residents, victims, and organisations we can make sure communities feel proud of where they live whilst stopping others falling into the trap of gang culture.”

Designed by the Home Office and endorsed by the Policing Inspectorate, Clear, Hold, Build aims to help rescue areas affected by crime.

The first step – Clear – sees police pursue gang members to clear an area.

The second – Hold – involves police and others maintaining a grip so other criminal gangs cannot fill the void.

The third – Build – involves police working with partners to help support the community to be less susceptible to crime gangs.

In this operation, the Met is working closely with partners at Westminster Council and social enterprise charity Bounceback to divert young people away from crime.

Bounceback aims to help people exit a criminal lifestyle through training and paid employment to help protect vulnerable people – especially young people – from being caught in a cycle of crime.

As a result of this morning’s warrants, eight men – aged between 21 and 29 – were arrested at eight separate addresses on suspicion of conspiring to possess a firearm with the intent to endanger life.

Two other men were also arrested at one of the addresses on suspicion with intent to supply Class A and Class B drugs.

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