Crackdown on gangs cuts London youth violence, say police


Serious violence among young people in the capital is falling since a crackdown on gangs was launched just over six months ago, police said today.

Scotland Yard said serious youth violence was down by 34%, equating to 1,000 fewer victims, since the launch of the Trident Gang Crime Command in February.

Knife injuries involving those under 25 have reduced by 29%, and the number of times a gun has been fired has dropped by 21%.

The unit was set up to spearhead a renewed and long-term approach to tackling gangs and officers have been engaged in pro-active and targeted operations to tackle and disrupt gang activity.

Since April, more than 1,500 known gang members have been arrested, many of them charged with serious offences and 125 weapons taken off the streets across London, a Yard spokesman said.

He added: "We have also worked with partners to divert young people away from joining gangs and becoming involved in gang crime by supporting them into a number of schemes such as mentoring, how to gain employment, substance misuse programmes and help with housing issues."

Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "We know gangs are responsible for a lot of violent crime which is why the work of this Command is so important.

"It is early days but it seems this dedicated team is making a difference in tackling gang crime. It is part of our Total Policing approach. There is more to come."

Commander Steve Rodhouse, Gangs and Organised Crime, said: "We have been working hard, with our communities and partners, to tackle gang crime and divert young people from getting involved.

"We are never complacent and there is still much to do. We always said that this was a long-term commitment to deal with a difficult and embedded issue. We are working continuously to create a hostile environment for offenders, gang members and those who support them and their criminal activity.

"We will continue to build better intelligence pictures and the central teams will pro-actively work in tandem with boroughs, arresting and targeting those individuals responsible for crime."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "By cracking down on gang activity we are successfully bringing down knife and gun related crimes. There is no place in our city for youth violence and we are doing everything possible to stop young people being lured into criminal networks. It will take the continued efforts of the police and communities working together to tackle gangs, but there is no greater priority than stopping violent crime."

Anyone with information about gangs or those involved in gang crime was urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.