Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) launched a series of overnight anti-gang raids and arrested nine suspects, including a 14-year-old suspected drug runner who is currently being detained at a local police station.
A 49-year-old woman was also arrested, though it remains unclear if she is believed to have committed similar drug-related offenses.
The arrests were made in the areas of Northolt, Fulham, Greenford and Brentford. These areas have witnessed a large amount of gang activity and stabbings in recent years, with two people stabbed to death in Northolt in the past 14 months alone.
The raids – which involved some 200 police officers and were organized by the Met’s Trident anti-gang unit – targeted members of London’s MDP gang, which is believed to be behind a number of murders in the city.
Two firearms and an unspecified amount of cash were found and seized, according to Scotland Yard.
This latest anti-gang operation has been described as a “massive blow to an established gang” by a detective in the MPS.
“This is a massive blow to an established gang. What we’ve taken out is probably a line which has been supplying the Earl’s Court and Fulham areas. If you look across London, these are the kids that are getting involved in violence and stabbings because they are generally on the streets while the suppliers are removed from it, collecting the cash,” MPS Detective Inspector Driss Hayoukane said on April 12.
“They are very violent, several of them have a history of serious violence, at least one is suspected of regularly using a firearm. Not only have they been, as it appears to us, supplying crack cocaine and heroin, they have been making a huge amount of money.”
The UK government has been criticized for cutting the budgets of police forces across Britain, resulting in less police officers patrolling crime hotspots.
However, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has dismissed the link between budget cuts and the increase in violent crime, but many were unconvinced by her comments, and calls for the austerity measures to be reversed are persisting.