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‘We must help police with gangs crack down on gangs’

KILLED: Agnes Sina-Inakoju

THE BROTHER of a promising student, who was killed by a stray bullet while waiting in a pizza shop, has urged black communities to support the Metropolitan Police’s new task force to tackle gangs.

“I think it’s a good thing. It should have come a long time ago but it’s better than nothing. It’s unfortunate for someone like me that has to know the circumstances of what they [gangs] do,” said Abiola Adesina, whose sister 16-year-old Agnes Sina-Inakoju was shot in the neck and later died in 2010.

Adesina and members of other grieving families joined police commanders to launch the Trident Gang Crime Command last week.

VIOLENCE

Adesina added: “Loads of innocent people are getting killed. Anything that can stop or even reduce the violence is welcomed by me, so that is why I am supporting it.

“We should come out and support the police; not for the police’s sake but our sake, our children’s sake and for the sake of the whole community. Nobody knows what’s going to happen.


LOSS: Abiola Adesina (PIC CREDIT: DAVID JONES)

“When my sister was shot, I never believed it could happen to my family. I’ve seen it on the news and I have heard people talk about people being shot… but you never believe it’s going to happen to you but when it does, your perspective changes.”

A court heard how Agnes was the innocent victim of a feud between rival gangs that had been trading tit-for-tat incidents in the days leading up to her shooting in Hackney, east London on April 14, 2010.
Leon Dunkley, 22, and Mohammed Smoured, 21 were later jailed for life, with minimum 32 year sentences after a court heard how they fired shots indiscriminately inside the Hoxton Chicken and Pizza takeaway. They had hoped to hit two males who were also in the shop but a bullet struck innocent bystander Agnes instead.

RESPONSIBLE

Scotland Yard figures show that gangs are responsible for approximately 22 percent of serious violence, 17 percent of robbery, 50 percent of shootings and 14 percent of rapes in London.

Police commanders said the Trident Gang Crime Command, a collaboration between the Met Police Service and Trident - the police unit that previously solely focused on investigating gun crime affecting black communities - would now take a more strategic approach towards gang crime.


IN IT TOGETHER: Participants at last week’s launch

There will be 1,000 police officers on patrol to help free London’s streets of serious gang activity and 19 priority London boroughs including Lewisham, Greenwich and Lambeth in south London will now each have a local anti-gangs teams.

The aim is to implement diversion and prevention activities to stop young people joining gangs and to wipe out an estimated 250 criminally active gangs in London.

“It’s about joining [all initiatives] together and raising our game in terms of enforcement, using a whole range of different tactics,” said assistant commissioner, Mark Rowley, head of the MPS Specialist Crime and Operations Directorate.

TARGET

Steve Cundy, operational head of the new Trident Gang Crime Command said he hoped to dramatically reduce youth deaths. He said: “If we can as the Met police target the most harmful individuals then ultimately, the success will be less killings in London, less young men getting shot and stabbed either fatally or seriously injured.”

He also responded to critics who said using Trident’s name could hurt community relations, previous progress and result in gangs wrongly being labelled as solely a black problem.

Cundy told The Voice: “I think there’s a lot of strength to keeping the name. We took a lot of advice and we thought hard about it as the police. There would be some benefits to changing the name but at the same time for me Trident as a name is quite trusted. It’s the fact that my officers are from Trident, it makes a big difference when it comes to victims and witnesses to persuade them in the most difficult circumstances to support us in prosecutions.”

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