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30 March 2011, 15:08
Scotland Yard detectives have arrested 22 people during dawn raids across London, targeting gangs involved in violent crime.
Officers have been to 41 addresses in seven boroughs - Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton, Kingston, Waltham Forest, Lambeth and Croydon - seizing drugs, cash and parts of guns.
Twenty-one males aged between 15 and 35 were arrested for conspiracy to supply class A drugs. A woman was also arrested for being in breach of court conditions.
Police are considering pursuing eviction orders with local housing officers against properties where Class A drug use was detected.
The raids were carried out by the Met's new Operation Connect unit, which is creating a central database of London's most harmful gang members.
MPS Territorial Policing Commander Steve Rodhouse, said:
"Today's raids demonstrate our determination to continue to dismantle gang networks that are responsible for a disproportionate amount of criminality in London. They also send out a clear message that drug dealing, which can fuel many other gang-related activities, will not be tolerated.
"Operation Connect will help support boroughs in the good work they are already doing to ensure that we are identifying, targeting and tracking the most dangerous offenders linked to gang violence – and where appropriate, helping them access the support to leave that lifestyle behind for good. We also want to try and prevent vulnerable youngsters, eg siblings of those already in gangs, from getting drawn into gang-related activities in the first place.
"However those unwilling to stop their involvement in these criminal networks should know that we will target them in future operations. The vast majority of young people are law-abiding and we will relentlessly pursue the small minority affiliated to gangs that intimidate and cause misery and fear to the wider community."