10 February 2012

Boris and Met crack down on gangs

In an unprecedented strike against gang violence, Boris Johnson announced a new task force on Wednesday specifically dedicated to eradicating gang violence across London. The 1,000 strong London Gangs Task Force will monitor gang activity and work throughout London boroughs.

Officers got straight to work at dawn Wednesday morning. In their first day of activity, more than 300 raids took place. They made more than 200 arrests and executed over 150 arrest warrants. Officers seized items including 1kg of heroin, cocaine, firearms and £34,000 in cash amongst other contraband.

The London Gangs Task Force adds another element to Mayor Johnson’s successful crime cutting programme. Over the past four years:

  • Crime has been cut by 10.6%;
  • Bus crime is down 30%;
  • Over 11,000 knives and guns have been taken off the street;
  • Murder rates are the lowest they’ve been since 1978

When Boris Johnson was elected, he inherited a situation where the entrenched problems of gang and youth violence had been ignored for decades. He put in place a plan to begin to turn things around that is showing signs of progress. He is taking knives off the streets, funding prison places to stop repeat offending and supporting Academy schools that instil discipline and respect.

But this problem was never going to be solved over night, and Boris's determination to end the waste of the Livingstone years means he has freed up the money to keep police numbers high and tackle the long term problem of gangs and the destruction they cause.

Mayor Johnson has always made getting to grips with gang and knife crime a top priority. While a lot has already been achieved, there is still more to do and he will continue to aggressively fight gang violence.

Mayor Johnson said: "We've been attacking gangs from all angles. Now the Met has a concerted and determined push to take out the ring-leaders and tempt impressionable youngsters away from this destructive life. I made it clear when appointing a new Met Police Commissioner that this was the top crime priority for our city, a view shared by Bernard Hogan-Howe.

"This is gang crime being tackled head on."

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