Submachine Gun Seized, Nine Arrested in London Anti-Gang Raids
Fotobank.ru/Getty Images/ Dan DennisonEurope15:04 12.04.2018(updated 15:05 12.04.2018) Get short URL
The UK’s capital city has been plagued by a wave of violent crime in the first quarter or so of 2018, with over 50 murders reported so far this year. Many police officials and experts have attributed the rise in violent crime in London and the wider UK to austerity and budget cuts to police forces.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) launched a series of overnight anti-gang raids and arrested nine suspects, including a 14-year-old suspected drug runner who is currently being detained at a local police station.
A 49-year-old woman was also arrested, though it remains unclear if she is believed to have committed similar drug-related offenses.
The arrests were made in the areas of Northolt, Fulham, Greenford and Brentford. These areas have witnessed a large amount of gang activity and stabbings in recent years, with two people stabbed to death in Northolt in the past 14 months alone.
The raids – which involved some 200 police officers and were organized by the Met’s Trident anti-gang unit – targeted members of London’s MDP gang, which is believed to be behind a number of murders in the city.
Two firearms and an unspecified amount of cash were found and seized, according to Scotland Yard.
READ MORE: London Man Claiming to Be Armed Gunned Down by Police
This latest anti-gang operation has been described as a “massive blow to an established gang” by a detective in the MPS.
“This is a massive blow to an established gang. What we’ve taken out is probably a line which has been supplying the Earl’s Court and Fulham areas. If you look across London, these are the kids that are getting involved in violence and stabbings because they are generally on the streets while the suppliers are removed from it, collecting the cash,” MPS Detective Inspector Driss Hayoukane said on April 12.
Prior to the raids, MPS Commissioner Cressida Dick told reporters that London gangs are making a “huge amount of money” by selling drugs.
“They are very violent, several of them have a history of serious violence, at least one is suspected of regularly using a firearm. Not only have they been, as it appears to us, supplying crack cocaine and heroin, they have been making a huge amount of money.”
The UK government has been criticized for cutting the budgets of police forces across Britain, resulting in less police officers patrolling crime hotspots.
READ MORE: Violent Crime Almost Tripled in Manchester, UK Since 2010 Due to Budget Cuts
However, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has dismissed the link between budget cuts and the increase in violent crime, but many were unconvinced by her comments, and calls for the austerity measures to be reversed are persisting.