Operation Connect targets NE gangs

16 September 2011

New Scotland Yard

Eight alleged gang members in north east London have been arrested in connection with using fraudulent means to obtain car insurance.

The individuals targeted in the latest set of raids by Operation Connect - the MPS unit set up to tackle violence driven by gang culture - were arrested in relation to allegations of using stolen credit cards and bank details in order to gain the vehicle insurance.

In addition, officers seized thousands of pounds in cash during the raids, which were carried out on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th September at a series of addresses in Waltham Forest.

Several of those individuals have also been arrested regarding claims they were involved in a street robbery. The raids in the east London borough were carried out in conjunction with Waltham Forest borough's robbery squad and crime squad.

Operation Connect helps support boroughs in the work they are already doing to ensure that the Met is identifying, targeting and tracking the most dangerous offenders linked to gang violence. It started in Waltham Forest since the end of March, and have just begun work in Haringey.

The unit is scrutinizing information from across the force's series of intelligence systems in order to produce the first ever centralized MPS database, or matrix, of the most harmful gang members in London.

Det Chief Insp Tim Champion of Operation Connect said: "The massage from these raids is clear - Operation Connect will continue to target harmful individuals to bring perpetrators to justice. This joint operation highlights how we can work effectively with local police and partners to reduce gang-fuelled violence."

Det Chief Supt Mick McNally, lead for Operation Connect, added: "Our approach is aimed at pursuing those who are determined to persist in violence, while encouraging and enabling those who choose to leave gang lifestyles behind. As these raids demonstrate, we will use the full range of tactics open to us - whether that be targeting gang members through fraudulent car insurance or special injunctions - in order to disrupt serious networks.

"However police cannot tackle the issue of violence alone - we are working tirelessly with local schools and colleges, the local authority and other agencies, third party groups and communities to make sure that we have the most effective arrangements for delivering community safety."

Since Connect was launched at the end of March more than 75 suspected gang members have been arrested, of which a significant number have so far been charged with a wide range of offences, including GHB, firearms possession and supply of drugs. In addition, officers and partners working together to help young people wishing to leave gangs and directing them towards specialist support, have helped more than 50 individuals divert from the gang lifestyle.

Six of the eight people arrested have been charged for a range of offences including robbery, fraud and traffic offences. They will appear at Southwark Crown Court on a future date