Published: 18:44, 19 October 2021
| Updated: 19:18, 19 October 2021
A three-day cross border joint operation between the Metropolitan Police and county forces has resulted in 119 arrests.
Officers from Kent, Surrey, Essex, Hertfordshire, Thames Valley and the British Transport Police joined in to disrupt drug and gang activity, using Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology along main roads in and around London, as well as in violence hotspots, to target vehicles which had a link to violence and drug crimes.
Youth workers from the charity Bounce Back, who interact with young offenders offering support and guidance to help them find ways out of criminal lifestyles, also joined the operation, working in dedicated custody suites providing immediate intervention.
The operation, which ran from October 12 to October 14, also saw 18 weapons confiscated, drug seizures, £5,795 in cash seized, along with an additional seizure of €451,000, plus 45 vehicles.
Insp Pete Luciano, of the violent crime taskforce, said: "Our number one priority is tackling violence and the drivers which fuel it – we know this includes drugs supply.
"The use of ANPR technology is a valuable tactic to target criminals bringing drugs and weapons onto the streets of London. Operations like this form part of the wider work being carried out across the Met to tackle violence in all its forms: officers are running bespoke operations alongside day-to-day activity, to make communities safer.
"We are working alongside other police forces and sharing intelligence across borders to intercept criminals using the road networks. My message is clear: if you are involved in the supply of drugs or exploitation of others, we will identify you; stop you and arrest you."
He said: "Crucially during this operation we were joined by youth workers who supported individuals on the cusp of violence. This meant young people received instant support, independent of police. Operations like this, which include a collaborative approach, can have a real impact on finding longer-term solutions for those engaging in criminality."
The Met said their tactics were working. Offences in this year to September, compared with the same period in 2019, indicated a 10% reduction in homicides, a 32% fall in knife crimes and a 36% drop in gun crimes.
Insp Luciano added: "Communities also have a vital role to play in tackling violent crime.
"We urge anyone who may have information, to tell us, so that we can tackle violence together.
"We need information about crime or those who carry a weapon, or those that exploit people for gain or revenge, while putting young people’s lives at risk. Community intelligence can be used to great effect to not only detect, but also prevent crime, keep London safe and save young lives."
If you don’t want to speak to the police, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.