Police turn up heat on gangs

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ARMED POLICE roadblocks are being considered in parts of London to help tackle a feud between drug gangs that has claimed 13 lives so far this year.

Scotland Yard has already increased its use of armed response vehicles and set up a squad of detectives to investigate the shootings between black rivals.

The team of officers carrying out Operation Trident are also examining setting up roadside stops of cars carrying suspected gangsters. The officers involved in the stop and searches would be armed.

The tactic of armed road checks was widely used to combat terrorism before the IRA ceasefire. The City of London police continued with the roadblocks going into the financial heart of the capital after discovering that it was an effective method of catching and deterring other criminals.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "Officers from Operation Trident are considering a range of options to compliment the work already being done in parts of London - armed vehicle stops is one of these options."

Any armed roadside checks are expected to be concentrated in the Harlesden, Tottenham, Brixton and Lambeth areas, where most of the violence has taken place.

The shootings are between rival gangs and individuals, some with connections to the violent Jamaican "Yardie" gangsters and others who simply want to emulate them.

The gun war has intensified in recent months, with seven people being killed in nine weeks. In the latest incident, Dean Roberts, a 20-year- old drug dealer, was shot dead in a street in Harlesden, north-east London, on Monday night.

Rival factions were also involved in a gun battle outside a pub in Hoxton, north London, on Sunday evening, in which two people were seriously injured.