In the early hours of this morning, hundreds of officers embarked upon one of the Met’s most significant operations of this year.
The operation was launched by the Metropolitan Police Service to target the possession and supply of firearms and drugs across the capital.
The operation, which took place in the Star Lane travellers site, Orpington, Bromley, started as a result of pro-active work carried out by the local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT).
Safer Neighbourhood Teams comprise of officers who dedicate their time getting to know local communities and the underlying issues which they may be facing concerning criminal activity.
The SNT officers launched a proactive operation which led to them identifying several serious crimes which were believed to have been carried out by suspects linked to the Star Lane travellers site.
Due to the serious and organised nature of the criminality believed to have been committed, specialist officers from across the Met were drafted in to support the operation.
This included officers from the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command and Territorial Support Group.
Over the course of several months, a detailed package of evidence was developed around the dangerous suspects who were at the centre of the investigation.
This morning’s activity is the culmination of those many months of work.
At approximately 02:45hrs hundreds of officers in more than 30 vehicles carried out a number of search warrants at the traveller’s site.
Due to the number of police officer’s who were deployed in the operation, there have been no reports of the police encountering any overt aggression as they entered and searched the site.
The action involved highly trained Counter Terrorism Specialist Firearms Officers (CTSFOs), teams from the Territorial Support Group, Dog Support Unit and specialist search officers.
Dozens of officers from the local Basic Command Unit were also deployed.
Due to viable intelligence suggesting the presence of firearms at the site, a number of distraction techniques were used to enter some of the static caravans and detain the suspects.
Due to the size of the site and intelligence around where firearms may be stored, specialist search officers will now be present at the site for approximately two days carrying out a thorough search of the location.
As of 0600hrs, seven people have been arrested for offences including possession with intent to supply drugs, handling stolen goods and burglary.
The Met’s Modern Slavery Team is supporting two individuals found at the site.
So far, a total of 17 dogs have been seized from the site.
Commander Kyle Gordon, the Gold Commander for the operation, said:
“Tackling violent crime remains the Met’s top priority, and our efforts to prevent serious harm and loss of life on the streets of London have not wavered, including over the last few challenging months.
“This operation clearly demonstrates that every officer – from local neighbourhood teams all the way up to our specialist crime investigators – is focused on bringing those responsible for violence and organised criminality on the streets of London to justice, to keep our communities safe.
“This case was led by local neighbourhood officers in response to local issues, and its success would not have been possible without the support of partners and communities. This operation has targeted serious and organised crime head-on, and will mean the surrounding communities are now safer for those living within them.
“Over recent months we have seen an increase in the number of firearms incidents across London and proactive operations like this are crucial to removing the availability of weapons and drugs on the streets.”
Superintendent Andy Brittain, from the South Area BCU, added:
“We’ve been listening to the concerns of the local community, and I hope that today’s activity shows how seriously we take your concerns and that we do act upon them.
“This is a prime example of why we rely on intelligence and information so much from our communities. It helps us keep your streets safe.
“Local residents may see an enhanced police presence over the next few days and possibly some road closures whilst we carry out or searches. We are working with the local authorities to look after the safeguarding of residents and children that may be temporarily displaced whilst we do these searches.”
A Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) (London) spokesperson, said:
“By working in partnership, sharing intelligence lawfully and efficiently, the GAIN aims to ensure that government agencies along with law enforcement will help reduce the risk, threat and harm from serious and organised crime, in the most cost-effective way.
“Operation Medusa has involved months of collaborative hard work by GAIN who are dedicated to dismantling crime networks.
“Today’s executive action is an excellent example of adopting a multi-agency approach.”
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