Drug gangs are finding it increasingly difficult to get weapons to terrorize rivals and their own members as London approaches six months without anyone being shot dead, Scotland Yard has said.
Metropolitan police chiefs are trying to find out what has led to the drop in gun deaths and gun attacks in the capital. Not since October 31, 2021 has anyone been killed in a shooting in the streets of London. Fifteen people were shot in London in 2018, one fewer the following year and 12 in 2021.
The perception that London’s streets are a wild west of shootings is uneasily linked to the facts, according to Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty. He said a squeeze from the police increasingly turned weapons into a weapon as a last resort for drug gangs.
“We perceive that city street gangs and organized criminal groups in London have a hard time finding and moving firearms around,” McNulty said.
It is not only gun death that has plunged. So far this year, police have detected 27 shootings in the capital – barely one a week. In 2010-11, there were 499.
“Gun crime in London is definitely linked to gangs and drugs, and the vast majority of victims and suspects are linked to that world,” McNulty said. Criminals use firearms to protect territory and markets, enforce debt collection, intimidate and intimidate people and as a status symbol.
McNulty said, “They are fighting to get fatal weapons and therefore have to convert weapons (such as antique weapons and starting guns) to be lethal … and even manufacture the ammunition.”
Long-term reforms of the way Britain’s largest force tackles gun crime are bearing fruit. Intelligence that could previously sit while other things were prioritized is instead promoted at the front of the queue and acted upon by special teams as part of Operation Viper, which began in 2016 under former Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe.
McNulty said there had been further improvements under Cressida Dick, who formally left the Met Sunday after her resignation.
A police squeeze on drug networks has benefited the fight against gun crime. Drug crimes such as bribery have increased from 2,281 convictions in 2019-20 to 3,720 in 2020-21.
Where once suspects of drug supply were to be put on bail for up to 100 days while forensic medicine came back, samples of suspected illegal drugs can now be tested within four hours and charged.
McNulty said this thwarted opportunities for retaliation shootings of foot soldiers in the industry who lost their drugs to police. ‘If you are arrested as a drug dealer or mule, they have lost a kilo of drugs and money and they have a problem. If you can arrest, target and send them to jail, not only can they trade in drugs, but retaliation cannot take place. “
Police say intelligence from surveillance and human sources has been improved and that they are going after suspects for everything they can legally.
Most illegal weapons in circulation are small arms, and imports include Brunis from Italy and Retays from Turkey.
Gun offenders are mostly 18 to 24 years old and usually have previous convictions for violence and drugs. McNulty said, “If you’re in this world, you’re a target. You could be an offender one day; the next you could be a victim.”
Met bosses are usually on guard to speak publicly about their success with gun crime, partly because a sudden burst of gunfire can make them seem complacent. As one senior Met officer noted, police chiefs can be like politicians, invoking credit where the news is good, and blaming irrelevant factors when the news is bad.