New police team makes over 80 arrests for firearm offences in first year - so far
A new crack police team has made over 80 arrests for firearm offences in Sheffield in its first year.
The armed crime team, which was set up in the city last July in response to a ‘notable increase’ in shootings, has been prolific in its efforts to tackle gun crime.
In addition to making scores of arrests in its first 11 months, the team has carried out regular raids in a bid to remove weapons from the streets and searched 30 properties alone between January and April.
A report by Sheffield's District Commander, Chief Superintendent Shelley Hemsley, said ‘the majority' of shootings are down to organised crime groups involved in the supply of drugs.
She said the team works closely with Operation Fortify officers, who specialise in identifying, mapping and dismantling OCGs.
“In early 2020, South Yorkshire experienced an increase in firearms discharges across the county, with a notable increase in Sheffield,” said the police chief.
“The majority of these offences are driven by the activity of organised crime groups involved in the supply of controlled drugs.
“In July 2020, the force created the Armed Crime Team (ACT). Their purpose is to deliver an enhanced investigative and intelligence gathering capability, as well as carrying out focused disruption activity to tackle gun crime. Since its creation, the ACT has focused its activity in Sheffield and works closely with the city’s Fortify teams, the serious violent crime taskforce, force surveillance teams and the operational support unit.”
She said work to reduce gun crime includes a ‘large investment in visibility patrols’ and ‘targeted proactive work in order to impact on those groups causing the most harm’.
In one week of action last summer, joint ACT and Fortify teams carried out ‘high-impact disruption activity’ across South Yorkshire, which resulted in 100 arrests, the recovery of three firearms, the seized over 31 kilos of drugs and £63,000 in cash.
Chf Supt Hemsley said Sheffield saw a 27 per cent reduction in shootings during the second half of 2020 compared to the first six months of that year.
The downward trend continued in the first few months of this year, based on the latest figures available.
Last year, 66 guns were recovered and by mid-April of this year another 23 had been taken off the streets.
Chf Supt Hemsley said there are currently 13 ‘significant ongoing investigations’ led by the ACT, which
includes four people charged with conspiracy to murder following a series of shootings in Arbourthorne last June.
There is also a ‘large-scale investigation’ into a series of shootings in the Abbeydale area last summer, during which 11 search warrants have been executed, 19 arrests made and 12 firearms seized.
One of the most recent shootings in Sheffield resulted in the death of city solicitor Khurm Javed, also known as Khuram and Khurram.
The married dad-of-two worked was killed in Clough Road, near Bramall Lane, in April after shots were fired after a ‘confrontation between two parties’.
Mr Javed worked for London Road-based law firm Alison Law Solicitors.
To pass on information about gun crime in Sheffield call South Yorkshire Police on 101.