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Statement regarding the future of Trident Gang Command

March 13, 2013, 2:03 pm

It has been reported that Trident Gang Command is disbanding, this is not the case.

Operation Trident was established in 1998 due to community concerns around how the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) investigated gun homicide within the black community. Since its inception, year on year, fatal shootings have fallen dramatically and since April 2012 to date, only five people have been murdered through shootings. Although this is positive the MPS are obviously striving to reduce this further still.

Historically fatal shootings have been investigated by the Trident Gang Crime Command whereas all other homicides, including stabbings of young people, many of whom are from Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, are dealt with by officers and staff from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command (HSCC). This has led to an unsatisfactory position whereby some fatal shootings unconnected to gangs have been investigated by the Gang Command whereas some tragic gang motivated stabbing offences have been dealt with outside of the Gang Command.

The new Trident Gang Crime Command was launched last year and leads on the MPS response to tackling gang crime. As we move into the second year of our plan to reduce gang related crime, the MPS are keen to resolve this anomaly as it seems unhelpful to continue to distinguish between homicide offences merely on the basis of the weapon used within the crime.

In order to achieve this, and in recognition of the significant reductions in fatal shootings, we are refocusing our efforts on proactivity and have decided to transfer the responsibility for investigating future shooting homicides to our specialist homicide investigators within the HSCC. This in turn will allow an additional 120 officers to be deployed into our Trident Gang Crime Command proactive teams with a clear objective to further reduce gun and gang crime across the capital.

Trident Gang Crime Command will continue to retain responsibility for all other non fatal shooting incidents.

The change now places all homicide investigations in one command, regardless of how the death occurred, who was involved or what type of weapon was used.

Staff affected by the changes were made aware of the changes as soon as the decision was made.

Since its formation and throughout its history, Trident has been advised and assisted by the Trident Independent Advisory Group (IAG). Current members of Trident’s IAG together with other stakeholders have been informed on the change and their role in advising us through the transition has been and will continue to be valuable.

Commander for Gangs and Organised Crime, Steve Rodhouse said: “I do recognise that Trident Gang Command has developed some significant experience around these investigations and has also developed good relationships with some of our BME communities most affected by gun crime. This expertise will not be lost and will still be available to investigators.

“Trident is changing to meet the current need of the MPS and all Londoners. We are in actual fact placing more of our resources into proactivity with the clear aim of preventing gun, gang and knife crime and most importantly protecting young people.

“These changes build on the successes and significant crime reductions of the past year and the past four years, where we have seen a sustained 20 per cent reduction in gun crime, whilst still investigating gun homicides to the highest standards. I believe that this change of approach will significantly improve our ability to drive down levels of gun and knife crime in London.”

From the very beginning building effective relationships with the communities most affected by gun crime has been at the centre of Trident’s response. Although Trident’s remit has evolved over the years community engagement remains at the core of everything we do. We will continue to work with London’s communities, boroughs and our partners to help those people who want to exit a gang and to disrupt and convict those who wish to continue their gang-related criminal behaviour.

It has been a great first year performance-wise for the Trident Gang Crime Command with an overall reduction in gang-related crime. Serious Youth Violence is down per cent, that’s 1,871 fewer victims. Some boroughs including Westminster, Brent and Lambeth have seen dramatic decreases.

Much of this success is down to our proactive policing approach. Since April 2012, Trident and borough officers have made over 4,500 arrests targeting the most harmful gang members and Trident officers have seized over 100 firearms. Gun homicides are at a historically low level and shooting incidents have reduced by 19 per cent due to this proactive work, this equates to 93 fewer victims.

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