Islington police chief ‘won’t allow gangs to get a foothold’
PUBLISHED: 07:03 21 October 2012
Two of Islington’s most senior crime-fighting figures have spoken out about the borough’s growing gang problem, some of whom “act like they are in the Godfather”.
Last week Islington’s borough commander Det Chf Sup Gerry Campbell sent an email to the borough’s politicians saying he feared a gang struggle in the light of recent arrests.
Now he has spoken to the Gazette explaining that is a worst case scenario it’s his duty to prepare for.
He said: “Obviously that is my concern, but what I have to do is plan for what is happening next, to look at possible risks in the future. I will do all I can to keep people safe. I have an absolute commitment to support total policing and a total war on crime.
“To support that, I want people to help us. If people are aware of violence in any form, come forward with information.”
In terms of the gang situation, he said: “The gang activity in Islington is different to other parts of London. The level of organised crime is just not the same.
“However, our job is preventing further gang activity and just because we have knife crime down 30 per cent and firearms crime down 35.7 per cent, we can’t be complacent.
“What I can say is our enforcement is working extremely well. We are working to identify gang members, as well as young boys and girls who can be exposed to criminal groups.
“Through peer pressure a young person can end up in a group where someone has a knife and ends up stabbing someone. Say they are killed, people’s lives and prospects could be ruined for what is tantamount to 30 seconds of sheer stupidity.”
He went on to describe a successful recent operation that saw members of the notorious EC, or Easy Cash, gang jailed for 20 years.
But he refused to be drawn on whether this meant one criminal group off the radar.
“I am not giving kudos to any particular gang or individual,” he said. “But we must not allow gang members to get a foot-hold wherever it is in the borough.’’
Meanwhile Cllr Paul Convery, Islington council’s executive member for community safety, was disparaging about the borough’s so called gangsters.
He said: “It’s like these kids have been reading Mario Puzo [author of The Godfather]. It’s pathetic. These are scruffy youths from inner London, they are not the Mafia. They think honour and respect are achieved by popping people.
“But the problem has been growing without really being confronted – it should have been tackled over the last five or six years.
“Some of these youths are moving up the ladder. Ten years ago these were little scallies delivering wraps of dope. Now they are walking around with crack and weapons, that’s worrying.”