Policeman flees UK to escape Yardies

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The Independent Online

A gang of "Yardie" criminals has forced a Metropolitan Police officer to change his identity and flee abroad with his family after they threatened to kill him.

A gang of "Yardie" criminals has forced a Metropolitan Police officer to change his identity and flee abroad with his family after they threatened to kill him.

He has been given his new life with the help of his superiors. It is understood to be the first time such extreme action has been taken to protect a detective in Britain from a threat on his life.

The black officer had been working undercover as part of the Operation Trident team, which has 160 officers dedicated to combating gun crime and related "black on black" murders. His identity was discovered by a gang he had infiltrated in an attempt to gain information that would lead to their arrest.

So serious were the threats to kill him that senior officers decided the only way to protect his life was to change his identity and send him and his family to live abroad.

The action reflects the increasing threat faced by police officers when dealing with Jamaican criminals who have gained the reputation of dealing in Class A drugs and using extreme violence on their victims.

Last year there were 14 "black on black" murders involving Yardies or Yardie-style gangsters in London, and a further 35 non-fatal shootings, mostly in Brixton, Hackney and Brent. In 1999, there were 19 such murders and 22 non-fatal shootings.

However, attacks are becoming increasingly indiscriminate, according to the police. About 40 weapons have been seized by officers from Operation Trident, including two Uzi submachine guns and several Glock semi-automatic pistols.

Commander Mike Fuller, in charge of Operation Trident, has said that British drug gangs are hiring Jamaican hitmen for as little as £500 for contract killings.

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