A day of action against crime and disorder in Brixton town centre and surrounding area is being held by Lambeth Council and the Met police’s Trident Central Gangs Unit.
Weapons sweeps, knife test purchasing, mobile CCTV, car number plate checks and a knife amnesty are running in Lambeth’s Coldharbour Ward today (Wednesday, August 21).
Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, police cadets, Job Centre Plus, London Fire Brigade, housing associations, neighbourhood watch groups, and local charities Options 4 Change and Word 4 Weapons are all be supporting the push.
They will help run sessions for residents offering advice on job hunting, dog chipping, alcohol awareness and give people the chance to share their experiences of anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Neighbourhoods, said: “Levels of robbery, theft, begging and violence in this area are too high. There are gang related problems here and we are working with the police, residents and community groups to crack down on crime.
“We welcome the involvement of Trident officers who are expert at dealing with these issues. But equally important is the support from the vast majority of law abiding people who live here. Together we are sending the message that anti-social behaviour, drug dealing and robbery will not be tolerated in our town.”
Another important element is reaching out to younger people in the ward to highlight the opportunities available to them and to discourage them from gang involvement.
In the build-up to the day of action council workers and, in a London first, residents and have been getting training from Trident in carrying out weapons sweeps.
Gang members have been known to hide weapons in public places to avoid being arrested for carrying them in the streets.
To put an end to the practice locals have been given forensic weapons sweep training by the Met so they know what to look for, what to do if a weapon is found and the importance of preserving evidence.
Detective Chief Inspector Claire Crawley, from the Trident Central Gangs Unit said: “We are focused on working with local communities, local authorities, charities and other agencies to prevent young people from joining gangs in the first place.
“Today’s activity demonstrates how we can directly support local boroughs, such as Lambeth, in the fight against gang crime.
“For some time, Trident has offered weapon sweep and forensic awareness training to council workers, such as estate wardens, across the capital.
“This is the first time that we have delivered training sessions to local residents. The training has been very well received by Lambeth to the extent that we are booking further sessions for later on in the year.
“Those involved in gang criminality should be aware that there is a way out and that there are people we can put you in touch with to help turn your life around, from mentors, to education centres to potential employers.
“However, if you remain in a gang and if you continue to commit crime, then we will keep targeting you.”