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Call for Brixton to unite in wake of gang raids

A day of action, called Brixton Unite, is being run by Lambeth council and the Met’s Trident Gang Crime Commandfollowing two police operations against gang activity linked to the borough.

Lambeth police, Trident, the British Transport Police, and the council are determined to work with the community to reduce the harm caused by gangs.

The day of action on Thursday (March 6) will centre on Windrush Square in Brixton town centre. There will be more than 20 stalls handing out information to encourage young people into education and employment.

Staff from Job Centre Plus, Word for Weapons and Options 4 Change, Street Doctors and Dance United London Academy will all attend to speak to local people.

In initiative also comes in the wake of two fatal stabbing in the borough over recent weeks. Dwayne Simpson, 20, from Stockwell, was attacked while in Brixton and died in hospital two days later on Thursday (Feb27). Femi Junaid, 22, from Peckham, was killed in Stockwell on February 10.

Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cabinet member for Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Neighbourhoods, said: “We are working with the community to make sure the gang problems don’t return. The recent fatalities show how urgent this work is.

“We are doing all we can, and now we want the people from our communities to take responsibility for these issues. We need them to look out for young people at risk of falling into criminal behaviour. The police have arrested large numbers of offenders who operated from this area.

“We don’t want that void to be filled by others who will potentially carry on perpetrating harm on their own community. We need local people to embrace the opportunities on offer and help those at risk of committing offences avoid the lifestyle that inevitably leads to prison, poverty and misery for all affected.”

Wesley Walters-Stephenson, Lambeth Community Police Consultative Group chairman, said: “We wholeheartedly support that the community is being involved in the initiative today. We want the elements of crime in Lambeth looked at and local issues addressed.

“It’s important Lambeth is a safe place for residents, and also people visiting our borough. It’s important to give people reassurance that crime in Lambeth is not being ignored.”

Trident Central Gangs Unit has been working in Lambeth to tackle violent crime. On January 30 this year 29 people believed to be linked a gang in Brixton were arrested after early morning raids. The operation built on work conducted on December 10 last year when raids saw another 18 people arrested.

The renewed push will also see the London Fire Brigade present, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home staff on hand.  Lambeth council’s community safety team will be out speaking to businesses, residents and community groups to spread the message and offer people support.

The British Transport Police will be ensuring safety and cutting crime at the area’s transport links. Volunteer police cadets will be carrying out weapons sweeps to deny violent criminals the opportunity to stash knifes.

Detective Chief Inspector Claire Crawley, Trident Central Gangs Unit, said: “Trident has been working in Lambeth since June 2013, not only from an enforcement side but also working in partnership with an extensive network of providers who can support and provide opportunities to exit a gang culture.

“Although Trident’s primary aim is to arrest and convict those offenders who carry weapons and commit gang-related crime, we also work closely with boroughs, families, local authorities, charities and other agencies across the capital to prevent young people from joining gangs in the first place.

“Brixton Unite demonstrates Lambeth’s communities coming together to support the fight against gang crime and should send a message to those involved in gangs that there is a way out and that there are organisations we can put them in touch with that will help turn their lives around, from mentors, to education centres to potential employers.”

In emergencies call the police on 999. To report anti-social behaviour phone Lambeth Council on 020 7926 4000. For more information on local policing visit www.met.police.uk/saferneighbourhoods

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