Shootings have plummeted by a staggering 92% in north Manchester in the past year after an assault on the city’s organised crime groups has seen dozens of arrests and significant seizures of drugs and firearms.
Specialist officers from Central Park station have spearheaded the offensive with support from local detectives and neighbourhood teams continuing to take the fight to criminals operating in the north of the city.
Targeted work led by our dedicated intelligence development team (IDT) to tackle a spike in shootings in early 2021 has led to reported firearms discharges dropping from 26 in 2020-21 to just two in the last 12 months – with none since last July.
During the same time period, 33 firearms have been taken from the streets of north Manchester – up from 29 the previous year – demonstrating officers’ continued drive to use intelligence to tackle the possession of potentially lethal weapons.
Working alongside detectives from our Serious Organised Crime Group (SOCG) and firearms investigation team, the action has seen an increase in proactive disruption activity with the execution of 72 drugs warrants, 58 firearms raids, and over 200 stop-searches resulting in 191 arrests.
Weapons recovered include revolvers, shotguns, converted blank-firing guns, knuckle-dusters and air rifles.
This included the seizure of a loaded gun at an address in the Bradford area of the city last month that also saw a large quantity of class A drugs taken for forensic assessment; five teenagers were arrested and remain under investigation while we continue our enquiries into the find.
Investigators have also been focused on dismantling the source of some of the city’s gang disputes – namely the cultivation, use, and supply of class A and B drugs.
A noticeable increase in aggravated burglaries last summer in places such as Cheetham Hill, Crumpsall and Blackley was seeing groups of men targeting addresses armed with weapons and demanding drugs.
It became apparent that the offenders in these incidents were identifying locations where they believed cannabis farms were being grown, and were going there to threaten and steal the farms from rival organised crime groups.
On some occasions, these gangs went to the wrong addresses which saw innocent people having their homes invaded and being threatened with weapons.
We received a report of this happening a month ago in Crumpsall when a home of a family of four – including a child – was broken into by masked men armed with weapons who were demanding drugs before making off after realising they were at the wrong address.
Incidents like these are completely intolerable and enquiries into this are ongoing.
We’ve been committed to tackling this following the introduction of Operation Download in June 2021 where we embarked on a blitz of 13 raids in the first two weeks as part of a crackdown on sophisticated cannabis grows we believed were subjects of such disputes.
A total of 30 warrants have now been executed, approximately £7.5million’s worth of plants have been destroyed and 125 suspected farms dismantled.
So far 24 men have been charged offences relating to the cultivation of cannabis and officers are keen to continue to confront suspected organised criminals operating in north Manchester.