More than 150 guns removed from West Midlands streets in a year - say police - The Solihull Observer

More than 150 guns removed from West Midlands streets in a year - say police

Solihull Editorial 5th May, 2024   0

MORE THAN 150 guns have been taken off the region’s streets and dozens of serious and organised criminals have been put behind bars in past year say West Midlands Police.

To mark the first year of the force’s Operation Target initiative led by the Major Crime Unit also revealed shootings have also fallen across the region.

West Midlands Police say officers recovered 152 guns across – an increase from 121 the previous year and there were 92 firearms discharges in the same time frame, compared to 126 the previous year and 161 the year before that.

Split into proactive and reactive teams, the Major Crime Unit was brought into force as part of a major reorganisation of West Midlands Police last year.

The force said proactive teams gather and develop intelligence to arrest those involved and serious crime and build cases which see them put behind bars for years.

Reactive teams are ready to act whenever there’s a major incident requiring specialist staff and detectives to work through vast quantities of CCTV, mobile phone data and forensic evidence.

It added that one of the six reactive teams alone has charged more than 50 people in the last year, including 21 for attempted murder.

It sees officers form a 24/7 specialist unit, using a range of overt and covert tactics to bring the suspect in as quickly and safely as possible.

West Midlands Police said in the last year, they’ve carried out 71 manhunts. All of the suspects were found, and 44 of them were wanted for murder.

Their work has already seen the arrest of 73 predatory sexual offenders, caught as a result of undercover work online by officers.

And more than £900,000 has been recovered through the courts, and through seizures. Half of that money will be returned to West Midlands Police to invest in making communities safer.

Det Supt Scott Griffiths, who oversees the teams, said: “We’ve had a really successful year of targeting serious and organised crime in the West Midlands.

“We’ve uncovered criminal gangs through our proactive work to seek out those who use violence and intimidation, and when we’ve had major incidents that have resulted in people being seriously injured n the streets of the West Midlands, we’ve acted swiftly and decisively to investigate and put those responsible behind bars for years to come.

“The new way of working which came into place at the start of last year means we’ve got dedicated resources to quickly review CCTV, mobile phone and forensic evidence.

“But we’re also working really closely with local policing areas to understand the community impact and gather information and intelligence.”

Anyone with information on those involved in serious and organised crime in the West Midlands should contact police via Live Chat on the force’s website or by calling 101.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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