Trident Independent Advisory Group 'loses independence' claim

Person holding gun Trident was replaced by the Trident Gang Crime Command in February 2012

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A group originally set up to tackle gun crime in London's black communities has lost its independence following a police shake-up, it has been claimed.

The Trident Independent Advisory Group was relaunched this week with members from 18 boroughs and not-for-profit organisations.

The original group was set up by community activists in the mid-1990s to tackle the effects of gun crime.

It also aimed to challenge the police to take more effective action.

In 1998, the group started advising the Trident unit, which focused mainly on gun crime in the black community.

Claudia Webbe, the group's co-founder and former chairwoman, said the members went to New Scotland Yard for their monthly meeting on Wednesday and were told by a security guard that their services were no longer required.

"We were told that we had been replaced by a new group," she said.

Ms Webbe said the new advisory group was composed mainly of people nominated by the borough police teams and from organisations that the Metropolitan Police (Met) works with to tackle gangs such as the Prince's Trust, St Giles Trust, and Capital Conflict Management.

The group would be chaired by the police, she added.

"That isn't going to provide the independent advice that we've been giving," she said.

'More representative'

Trident was replaced by the Trident Gang Crime Command, which focuses on gang-related and gun crime, regardless of the victim's background, in February last year.

A Met spokesman said the group remained independent.

He said: "Since the new command was launched in February 2012, it has become clear that our IAG [independent advisory group] needed to be more representative of the communities that we serve.

"Therefore the new Trident IAG, launched this week, now comprises a community member nominated from each of the 18 Ending Gang and Youth Violence (EGYV) boroughs in London, together with specific representatives of young people, including representation from the Safer London Foundation 'Young Ambassador' forum.

"The group also includes representatives from the St Giles Trust, the Princes Trust and various youth, faith and community groups from across the capital."

He said the new group, which includes some founding members, represented "a wider range of ages, ethnic backgrounds and geographic areas".

The spokesman said the Met "regretted" that Ms Webbe was left outside New Scotland Yard "for a few minutes".

"We apologise for any upset this has caused," he said.

"We wish to place on record our thanks for the hard work she has undertaken with Trident and Communities.

"We remain keen to work with her in the future."

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