Police launch gun crime crackdown in Newham

Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and recovered firearms

Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and recovered firearms - Credit: MPS

Gun crime in Newham is the focus of a new Metropolitan Police operation.

Some of the guns seized from London's streets

Some of the guns seized from London's streets - Credit: MPS

Dubbed Operation Viper, it will see a team of 50 officers deployed into the six London boroughs where most gun use takes place in a bid to combat a recent spike in firearm incidents.

Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “I’m concerned about the increase and am determined to stop it.

“We will use all our powers to take on the gunmen and those that supply them.

“Using firearms thankfully is still rare in London and rarely affects those not involved in crime.”

The team, made up of officers from a range of units, will use proactive tactics aimed at getting firearms off the streets and making it harder for gangs to get hold of guns.

These tactics include high-visibility armed patrols, weapon sweeps and stop-and-search based on tip-offs.

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The operation is also aimed at educating young people about the dangers of carrying firearms.

Between May 2015 and April 2016, there were 94 recorded gun crime incidents in Newham – up from 78 in the previous 12 months.

Commander Duncan Ball, in charge of the Met’s gangs and organised crime unit, said: “At least half the shootings in London are related to drugs. We are nowhere near the levels five years ago—but it’s our job to keep it that way.”

The number of killings are low, he pointed out—but even “one death is one too many”.

The Metropolitan Police Service is offering a sum of up to £2,000 as a reward for information that leads to the recovery of firearms, together with the arrest and prosecution of those in criminal possession of them.

Anyone who has any information about people that carry or use firearms can call 020 7230 8401, or in the event of an emergency 999.

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