London

Police arrest 23 people in raids targeting Hackney gangs

Police have arrested 23 people in raids at the end of an 18-month operation to hit gangs in east London.

About 300 officers targeted 32 properties in Hackney, Waltham Forest and Enfield seizing items including a kilogram of heroin, crack cocaine, an imitation firearm and £8,000 in cash.

The arrests were made under Operation Chalais, an initiative run by Hackney Police with funding from the council.

The 21 men and two women were arrested on drugs and firearms charges.

The dawn raids were aimed at "middle and higher tier gang members who have long criminal histories", a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

'Residents remain concerned'

Ch Supt Steve Bending, Borough Commander for Hackney, said: "Today's arrests, which are the culmination of 18 months' work, will play an important part in further reducing gang-related crime in Hackney.

"It is also important that we acknowledge the role of Hackney Council, which has provided long-term support for this operation and a clear commitment to tackle gang-related criminality.

"Our joint work to combat gang violence will continue."

Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe said: "Although crime in Hackney is at its lowest level for 12 years, we know that our residents remain concerned by the small minority of individuals who involve themselves in serious, violent and gang-related crime.

"Our significant financial investment in this operation, coupled with our ongoing, long-term support, demonstrates how serious we are about tackling organised crime and gangs in Hackney."

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