The launch of the new ‘Trident Gang Crime Command’ is being backed by the mother of murdered teenager Negus McLean.
Negus was 15 years old when he was stabbed to death by a gang of youths in Edmonton, north London, on April 10, 2011.
The case remains unsolved thanks to a ‘wall of silence’ preventing witnesses from coming forward to help police arrest the killers.
Ingrid Adams, Negus’ mother, said in an interview: “I go to bed thinking of Negus and wake up thinking about him. I will always remember his smile. Even if a child isn’t in a gang they probably know someone who is in a gang or is affiliated with a gang.
“The police need to start with children very early. When I was growing up the police used to come into my school. You have to start young and talk to them to gain their trust. I know there is a problem with so called snitching and loyalties. But keeping quiet isn’t helping the problem.
“There is this wall of silence that needs to be broken down. They need to come forward to talk to the police. The wall of silence needs to stop. Since Negus there has been so many others.
“Negus was murdered on a Sunday; it was a bright sunny day. It could happen to anybody. It is anybody this problem doesn’t just affect the poor, people from broken homes or gang members, it could happen to anyone.”
The Met police have 4800 ‘nominals’ and 435 gangs recorded on their gangs database and estimate that 250 are criminally active. They claim 62 of those are responsible for two thirds of gang-related offences.
Gang members are thought to be responsible for 17% of all personal robbery, 40% of ‘cash in transit’ and commercial robbery, 12% of residential burglary, 26% of aggravated burglary, 14% of rape, 22% of serious violence, 20% of stabbings and 50% of shootings.
It’s difficult to put a figure on exactly how many murders are ‘gang-related’ but there are several high-profile cases every year.
Take 2010 as an example: In April Agnes Sina-Inakoju, 18, was shot dead with a submachine gun by two members of the ‘London Fields’ gang (the same gang was responsible for the murder of 15 year-old Shaquille Smith in 2008). Nicholas Pearton was stabbed to death by members of the ‘Shanks and Guns’ gang in Sydenham in May 2010. Samuel Ogunro was shot dead on the orders of a member of the ‘Peckham Boys’ in June 2010. Zac Olumegbon was stabbed to death by members of the Brixton GAS gang in July 2010. Sylvester Akapalara, 17, was shot dead by members of the GAS gang in December 2010. The murders of Gulistan Subasi and Ezra Mills in March 2010, Michael Ofori in June 2010, Marvin Henry in October 2010 and Sylvester Senyah in November 2010 were also said to be carried out by members of London gangs.
According to the Met Police the new Trident Gang Crime Command will be made up of 1,000 officers.
In a statement, it said: “The new command will retain responsibility for the prevention and investigation of shootings, but will now work more closely with boroughs to proactively tackle gang crime.
“The new command will be enhanced with additional specialist resources from the MPS, including Operation Connect and the Serious and Organised Crime Command (SCD7). It will take responsibility for real time monitoring of gang activity across London and work with new ‘Grip and Pace’ centres to coordinate and task corporate resources, both overt and covert, quickly at the relevant places.”
The Trident Gang Crime Command also has a new logo:
The focus is on 19 ‘priority’ boroughs – Brent, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Merton, Camden, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham.
So far the reaction from the media has been overwhelmingly positive. What do you think?