London Gang Sweep Leads To 13 Arrests

Dawn raids by the Metropolitan Police have led to the arrest of 13 gang members in north London on Thursday morning.

The raids involves some 200 police officers under Operation Connect - a dedicated unit set up to crack down on violence by street gangs.

The officers from Haringey borough, Met specialist units and Safer Transport teams, joined the Operation Connect team for the operation. Territorial Support Group officers forced entry to 17 addresses in two coordinated waves during early morning.

All the individuals targeted during the operation were sent warning letters earlier this week offering them the chance to get help to divert from the gang lifestyle - or face tough enforcement consequences.

The arrests were of 12 male and one female suspected gang members, ranging in age from 17 to 26. They were arrested for offences ranging from armed robbery, assault, affray, possession with intent to supply and violent disorder to non-residential burglary.

They are currently being interviewed at a number of London police stations. Four of the 13 arrests related to offences committed in Tottenham in the recent London disorder.

Detective Chief Inspector Tim Champion, from Operation Connect, said: "This first major Connect operation in Haringey continues our focused approach of building on established good practice in the borough, working closely together with local officers and partner agencies to ensure we are identifying, tracking and targeting the most dangerous offenders linked to gang violence.

"The raids today send a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue the small minority of young people who are affiliated to gangs if they choose not to access the support being made available to aid them to leave that culture behind them for good."

Since its launch six months ago, officers working under Operation Connect have made a total of 100 arrests, a significant number of which have led to charges ranging from robbery and possession of offensive weapons to conspiracy to supply drugs and assault, a police spokesman said.

Officers have also seized more than £50,000 in cash.

The spokesman said that under 'Connect', operatives are encouraged to use a wide variety of enforcement tactics, from gang injunctions to seizing the vehicles of those gang members driving without legitimate insurance in order to disrupt their movements.

To date, around 50 young people have so far taken up the offer of support to help them escape the gang lifestyle, including 22 individuals in Waltham Forest who are taking part, with their families, in an innovative, multi-agency scheme to help assess the impact of their gang-related activities on themselves, their parents and siblings.

They receive intensive support, including help to access employment, education and sporting opportunities and can even be relocated in a different area of London with their family if this is felt the most appropriate option.


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