Birmingham police flooded parts of the city to stop and disrupt anyone with suspected links to Organised Crime Groups and Urban Street Gangs during a dedicated crackdown lasting almost two weeks.
The operation – which involved visible officers and spotters monitoring the streets into the early hours in unmarked cars – was aimed at protecting the public from those who pose a danger and combat associated gun and drug crime.
There were no reported firearms discharges during the 12-day operation and we made 15 arrests ranging from possession of weapons to supplying drugs.
We recovered nine weapons from knives to baseball bats, almost 20 vehicles believed to be linked to criminality, £1,200 in cash along with a haul of cocaine, heroin and cannabis.
The operation also enabled us to engage with young people who are believed to be on the periphery of gang activity, and deter them away from a life which could see them jailed or even fatally injured.
It was led by the Birmingham East gangs team – with the support of other departments including traffic cops, dogs unit and taskforce officers – and saw us regularly active in the areas of Bordesley Green, Alum Rock, Washwood Heath, Small Heath, Yardley and Stechford.
The operation followed community concerns, and also coincided with the anniversary of a man being fatally shot in Stechford in August last year. The aftermath of the tragic death led to a surge of violence with more than a dozen suspected retaliation attacks in the months afterwards.
Two men were jailed for life for murder although the motive is likely to forever remain unknown. However, we wanted to ensure the sad anniversary of the death was not tarnished for family, friends and thankfully there were no reported incidents.
Even though the dedicated operation has finished we’ll be continuing to carry out regular patrols and other operations, alongside the wider work within areas.
We work with youth services, charities and communities to divert vulnerable young people away from exploitation by organised criminals, and offer improved life choices.
Our work with schools give teachers and youth workers the latest insight of the city’s gang scene and help to recognise signs that may indicate a child is getting drawn into it. The aim is to identify impressionable young people who may be at risk of falling into gangs and to offer support before it’s too late.
Chief Inspector Helen Bailey, from Birmingham Police, said: “This operation was part of our ongoing work to disrupt gangs and also try to deter young people from being attracted to this very dangerous lifestyle.
“We know the fear and impact of firearms on our streets and we’re committed to doing all we can to prevent the use of guns in our communities.
“The message is clear; those who attach themselves to organised crime groups run the risk of being caught and jailed.”
She added: “We were joined by members of the community during the operation who were able to safely observe our work. The feedback around how we engaged with others was very positive.
“Tackling gangs is a partnership approach, including the public sector, charities and the community. Together we need to present young people with opportunities in education and employment as an alternative to an illegal and dangerous way of life.”
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