Eight held in Scotland Yard swoop on gangs


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The Independent Online

Eight people have been arrested in a series of dawn raids aimed at curbing gang crime in the capital, Scotland Yard said.

Officers seized crack cocaine, a cannabis factory and an air pistol among other items in the raids on 17 addresses in the Westminster and Brent areas of London.

The operation was targeted at people believed to be gang members suspected of involvement in a series of crimes including robbery, drug supply and looting in the riots last August, Scotland Yard said.

The eight arrested, all aged between 16 and 24 years old, are being held at central and north London police stations.

Scotland Yard said 120 police officers took part in the operation, led by the newly formed Trident Gang Crime Command launched earlier this year to pursue gangs and gang members across the capital.

The arrests follow another police operation yesterday when officers detained six people from rival gangs following a violent fight on a bus in Brent.

Detective chief inspector Tim Champion, from the Trident Gang Crime Command, said: "By successfully removing the negative role models and their gang associates within the local community we are hoping to prevent young people from joining gangs in the first place.

"There is nothing cool about being in prison - it is not a positive experience. There is nothing trendy about having a criminal record.

"It only makes it harder to get a job or into further education. There is nothing untouchable about being involved in violence and crime. It can lead to getting arrested, sent to prison, seriously injured or even killed.

"We cannot of course tackle gang violence alone.

"We are working with partners and agencies to offer ways out of gangs and divert young people away from what can become a very destructive path."