Crackdown on Lambeth gangs as ‘high harm’ individuals targeted in police operation


A two-day operation led to the arrest of 27 gang members in the borough.


By Hannah Pupkewitz

Crack cocaine, heroin, and cash totalling over £6,000 were recovered by officers targeting gangs in Lambeth yesterday.

The Metropolitan Police’s crack down on London gangs led to the arrest of 27 Lambeth gang members over a two-day operation earlier this week.

Class A drugs, cash, three handguns, one shotgun and a number of knives were seized, over the last three months, during weapon sweeps conducted through local estates.

The series of dawn raids carried out by 200 officers were led by the Trident Central Gangs Unit and assisted by Lambeth’s Gang Unit and the Met’s Territorial Support Group.

“Those who deal drugs and bring violence to our streets should know that we will use all tactics to arrest and convict them, and we will protect those in our communities who do not deserve to live alongside such criminals,” said Lambeth Borough’s Detective Superintendent Martin Huxley.

“Every person we believe to be involved in gangs is given the opportunity to seek a lifestyle away from gangs and offered the support to help them do that. However, those who choose not to accept this offer can expect us to target them and their criminal lifestyle.”

The gang members targeted in this week’s Operation Nayelto were believed to be ‘high harm’ individuals involved in gang-related crime.

Sheldon Thomas is an ex-gang member and the founder of GangsLine a confidential phone line used to help young men and women escape gang culture.

“Gang life is worse now than it has ever been. Young people join gangs because they have no role models, no sense of purpose or identity,” said Mr Thomas.

“They lack family, cultural and institutional support. They feel that there’s no love in their homes, so they go looking elsewhere for a family figure. The gang becomes their family.

“Some gang members feel no remorse, no fear, no care in the world about the consequences or the effect it has on other people.”

He said that it’s important to know that gang members are involved in criminal activity to varying degrees and that some are only involved in low-level activity while others pose a serious criminal or violent threat.

Levels of GBH and wounding with intent have fallen over the past three years according to the Ending Gang and Youth Violence report published last month.

The government has hailed progress in tackling gang crime in English cities.

However ex- Lambeth gang member Jamie Conner said: “It is tough for young people to escape gang culture. They are afraid.

“The raids and arrests against gangs in Lambeth help youth crime but they do nothing to tackle the violence, fear, intimidation and sexual exploitation surrounding gang culture.”

Photo courtesy of freefotouk, with thanks.

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