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»Islington’s police chief has warned of a potential power struggle between rival gangs after three people were charged with the murder of a man last year.

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Det Chf Sup Gerry Campbell, who was made borough commander last month, made the comments to Islington’s senior politicians in an email which was then seen by the Gazette.

On Monday, three people appeared at the Old Bailey charged with the murder and a further 15 suspects remain on police bail in connection with the investigation, which is ongoing.

Det Chf Sup Campbell said in his email: “This is really good news for the victim’s family and the community. That said I am concerned; 1) a void in gang structure and criminal groups can be created; 2) it could leave one gang or group and area weakened, which is seen as easy prey and therefore exploited by opposing factions and 3) that the charges may empower or embolden other suspects to take up any gaps in structure or criminal offending which they see.”

The email asks community figures to keep their ears to the ground about new gang activity.

On Tuesday a stark report was delivered to Islington Council’s overview committee about rising levels of gang violence.

The document detailed territories of various gangs and outlined the emerging drug markets.

Tit-for-tat incidents

It said: “The levels of serious youth violence increased during 2011, largely as a result of gang rivalries.”

It adds: “In the north, the Grey Gang from Haringey aligned with the Elthorne Gang, meaning their presence on the borough increased. Constant encroachment into a rival gang territory (Crouch Hall Court) led to a number of tit-for-tat violent incidents.”

It says trouble continued to flare until it led the murder of a Crouch Hall Court gang associate.

The Crouch Hall Gang has since splintered, with many of its members jailed, and the Elthorne Gang has filled the gap.

The document describes a further rivalry between the Bemerton Boys and the EC1 Gang, or Easy Cash, in the south.

Violence erupted over the issue of respect, with the Bemerton Boys claiming their rivals disrespected a Bemerton member who was murdered in 2009.

The report also raises concerns about a “prominent” drugs market around the Andover and Six Acres estates in Finsbury Park.

Det Chf Campbell 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 to total policing and a total war on crime. I want to make Islington the safest borough in London.”

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