Yard announces crackdown on criminal gangs

1,000 officers to combat the problem at a cost of £60m a year as gang membership hits 5,000

The number of gang members in London has spiralled to almost 5,000, Scotland Yard revealed yesterday as it announced a multimillion pound crackdown on the people responsible for a huge proportion of violent crime.

Click HERE to view graphic

As raids across the capital brought in almost 160 suspected gang members yesterday, the Metropolitan Police announced that 1,000 officers were going to be dedicated to combating the problem at a cost of more than £60m a year.

Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, in his first major initiative in office, promised to "relentlessly pursue" the most violent members of gangs. "Our gang of seven and a half million has got to be bigger and better than the gangs who roam the streets of London. The hard work now starts," he said.

The police chief and London Mayor, Boris Johnson, were joined by Ingrid Adams, whose 15-year-old son Negus was murdered last year. "This problem doesn't just affect the poor, people from broken homes or gang members – it could happen to anyone," she said,

Police estimate that as many as 4,800 predominantly young men are involved in 435 gangs throughout London. Of these, 250 groups were deemed to be criminally active with 62 responsible for two-thirds of related violence.

Gangs, it was revealed, are responsible for a disproportionate amount of London's crime – half of all shootings, a fifth of stabbings and one in seven rapes. A quarter of aggravated burglaries are also gang related, as well as 22 per cent of serious violence and almost a fifth of muggings.

The vast majority of gang members are men aged between 18 and 24. While an increasing number of women are taking part, they are still just 5 per cent of those charged with related offences. However, women represent 20 per cent of the victims of gang crime, of whom 53 per cent are black and a fifth white.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley announced that the new unit –which includes officers working for Operation Trident, which investigates gun crime in the black community – would co-ordinate intelligence and operate a more "joined up consistent approach" across the capital.

While many gangs are territorial and stick to certain postcodes, others spread their tentacles wider. Task forces will be set up in 19 problem boroughs, co-ordinated by the central Trident command.

Yesterday, 1,300 police officers and staff were involved in raids across London, with 144 warrants resulting in 158 arrests. A kilo and half of heroin and crack cocaine was also seized, as well as thousands of pounds in cash and firearms.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Cundy, head of the new unit, said Trident's remit had changed significantly since its creation, as the make up of gangs and their targets has dramatically altered. In 2010, the victims came from 53 different countries and a third were under the age of 19.

'I saw daughter collapse,' says victim's mother

The mother of a five-year-old girl paralysed in an alleged gang shooting has described the horror of the moment she saw her daughter collapse.

In a statement to the trial at the Old Bailey, Sharmila Kamales- waran said she saw Thusha crumble "as though her legs were going to give up on her" after being shot while she played inside a south London shop on 29 March last year.

Thomas Watson said he saw a man run into the shop, chased by three masked men, one of whom had a gun. Kazeem Kolawole, 19, Anthony McCalla, 19, and Nath- aniel Grant, 21, all deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent. They have also pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and pos- session of a firearm with intent.

Suggested Topics
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis