Over 80 Arrested in Knife and Drug Gang Crackdown in London

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Police response vehicle seen near Oxford Circus underground station on November 24, 2017 in London, England. Police are responding to reports of an incident at London's Oxford Circus Tube station and have urged the public to avoid the area. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Jack Taylor/Getty

Over 80 arrests have been made in London in a widespread and multi-force crackdown on drug gangs operating in and out of the capital city.

The Metropolitan Police force announced on Thursday the arrest of 85 people on knife, weapons, and drugs offences, and claimed to have confiscated some 28 knives or other weapons, made 40 seizures of drugs and impounded 57 vehicles.

Metropolitan Police Service

Metropolitan Police Service

The arrests came under Operation Pandilla, which ran from April 26th to 28th, in which The Met collaborated with the Thames Valley, Hertfordshire, Surrey, and British Transport police forces, The Met said in a statement.

The statement claimed that drug gangs have increasingly taken to operating on the borders of police jurisdictions, using the rail network and often stolen, high performance vehicles in order to evade detection from law enforcement.

Metropolitan Police Service

Metropolitan Police Service

Commenting on the large drug bust, the leader of the Met’s operation, Chief Inspector Rob Ranstead said: “Organised crime, including county lines drug supply and criminals committing burglaries and robberies, are key drivers of violence in our communities. And offenders often exploit and target the vulnerable.

“Tackling violent crime and the supply of drugs is a top priority. The key aim of this operation was to stop drugs and weapons being brought onto the streets. Preventing these crimes, while also safeguarding vulnerable individuals on the cusp of violence, is paramount.”

He added: “Our determination remains strong and we will continue to work with our partners, and use every power and tactic available to serve and protect our communities.

“We will continue to deny the use of the roads and railway for violent and predatory people, drug dealers and those involved in county lines gangs and organised crime to operate.”

The Met also claimed that there has been a reduction across the board for serious violent crime during the April 2021 to March of this year in comparison to the 2019/20 recording period.

The London police force said that there was a 39 per cent decline in robberies, a 21 per cent decline in knife crimes for those under 25, and a 17 per cent decline in homicides.

The police force did not comment on whether lockdown restrictions played a role in the recorded declines.

The arrests come after a particularly bloody three day weekend bank holiday in the British capital, which saw two people killed, one of whom was stabbed to death outside of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The weekend also saw two people shot, two people left in life threatening conditions, and a woman raped. Seven people were also arrested after a street brawl involving weapons broke out in Enfield.

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