Armed police officers will face criminal gangs

Armed police officers will face criminal gangs head on to reduce the number of guns on London’s streets.

Ken Marsh, Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said more armed officers will be deployed to “challenge” gang members and “take these weapons from them”.

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He was speaking as the Met announced new armed squads to target gang-related gun crime in boroughs hit by a surge in the number of shootings.

The teams will include detectives with knowledge of gangs and local borough officers supported by armed police. They will operate in six boroughs: Brent, Hackney, Haringey, Lambeth, Newham and Southwark.

The initiative, codenamed Operation Viper, has been set up to tackle rise in the number of shootings in the capital in the past three months.

In 2015, there were an average of 19 gun-related incidents per month – already this year that figure has risen to 27 per month.

London’s gangs ‘unchecked’ by police

Armed police officers will face criminal gangs

Mr Marsh said: “We have to recognise the fact that there are more weapons readily available on our streets in London and we have to deal with them face on, very quickly.

“We have to have our specialist units, which are highly trained in this area, to get out and get in the faces of the perpetrators who have guns, who think that it is normal to walk around our streets with guns and knives.

“Our officers who are trained to deal with them will be out there dealing with them very quickly.

“It will be target led so they will be targeting them, arresting them and making sure that they cannot behave like that.

“No police officer wants to knock on a mother's, father's door and say 'your child has been killed'. This is the way that we can counter that and deal with these people who think they have the autonomy to behave like they do. They haven't.”

Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said that reducing the number of guns in London can also help to reducing the risk of a terrorist attack in the capital by cutting off the supply of weapons.

Mr Marsh added: “There are networks of gangs who behave in the way they do, they work together to use weapons which aren't allowed in this country.

“You've got to look at it in a different way. You've got to say 'we're coming out there, we're coming to get you' because ultimately we run towards [danger] when the public runs away.

“That is our job and we will go and challenge these people and we will take these weapons from them.”

Mr Marsh added that as an officer working on the streets of Haringey for 20 years, he wanted to ensure the public felt safe.

Armed police officers will face criminal gangs

Armed police officers will face criminal gangs

He said: “I think people will welcome the fact that the police are not stepping back, are not looking behind them. We're going forward, we're going to make your area safer.

“We've got young girls and boys who can't walk from one street to another because of what's going on.  We don't want them to feel that they can't step out into the streets.

“We want people to be able to go wherever they want in London and enjoy where they are.”

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