Two men were arrested in Croydon on Wednesday during a series of raids cracking down on South London gangs and violence.
The men were among 24 others, aged between 15 to 35, who were arrested for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
The raids, part of Operation Connect, were coordinated at dawn on Wednesday, spanning across 7 boroughs: Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton, Kingston, Waltham Forest, Lambeth, and Croydon. The police seized £10,000 in cash, drugs, mobile phones and jewellery believed to have been stolen.
The new Operation Connect will focus on analysing police intelligence, along with information from the community to compile the first ever centralised database of the most harmful gang members in London. The police are expecting to have more than 1,000 ‘high risk’ people on this list.
This information will then be used to ensure the efficient use of resources in disrupting criminal activities using a wide range of enforcement methods.
Operation Connect will also assist youths who want to leave gangs, and others who are vulnerable to getting involved. This assistance already exists in Croydon through the Operation Aries team.
According to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Territorial Policing Commander Steve Roadhouse: “Today’s raid demonstrates our determination to continue to dismantle gang networks that are responsible for a disproportionate amount of criminality in London. They also send out a clear message that drug dealing, which can fuel many other gang-related activities, will not be tolerated.”
Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of Policing said: “Operation Connect will send a shiver down the spines of drug dealers and gang members, and put a smile on the face of those whom they terrorise. Londoners want these nasty criminals rounded up and the kids they lead astray to be shown an alternative path.”
He added: “That is what Connect will deliver: hammering gang leaders and then diverting youngsters away from crime. So if you’re dealing drugs and luring kids into gangs, listen carefully for that 5am knock.”
Existing MPS data show 88 percent of London gangs are involved in violence and 80 percent in street level drug dealing. People with links to gangs are believed to be responsible for 16 percent of London’s total drug supply, almost a fifth of stabbing, half of all shootings and 14 percent of all rapes.
By Ingrid Tambunan