South Yorkshire Police crackdown aims to '˜eradicate' Sheffield estates gangs
Code-named Operation Fortify, the three-month blitz on crime in Parson Cross, Manor and Arbourthorne will focus on '˜organised crime groups' involved in drug dealing and shootings.
Police chiefs say the three estates have seen the ‘most significant increases’ in gang activity and firearms use in Sheffield compared to other areas over the last six months.
They say the areas are blighted by feuding gangs – often extended family networks and associates – who make their cash through drug dealing.
Shootings in the three areas over recent months are also believed to be linked to the gangs, with members prepared to open fire or threaten to use guns to settle feuds.
Superintendent Shaun Morley, who is running the operation, said officers need the support of local residents if the gangs are ever to be broken up.
“These localities have see the most significant organised crime group activity and most significant use of firearms than any other areas of Sheffield over the last six months,” he said.
“The organised crime groups are mainly centred around drug supply networks, and the use of firearms goes hand in hand with that when you get issues such as ownership of territory and feuding between rival groups.
“They will not think twice about resorting to using firearms to make threats or to fire towards properties or individuals from opposing groups.”
He said the crackdown, involving police working with other agencies, is aimed at eradicating gangs operating today and preventing them from re-forming in the future.
“We want to address this issue robustly and effectively to deal with what is happening today and to do all we can to prevent OCGs (organised crime groups) re-grouping in the future,” said Supt Morley.
“In short, this is about breaking the cycle and downward spiral.
“A lot of the networks have grown over many years, many are family groups.
“Working with partner agencies, we want to enforce the law and put people behind bars now but we want to educate, prevent and deter people who are at risk of becoming involved in criminality and filling the void that those in prison leave behind.”
He said community involvement is key to the operation and urged residents to come forward with information on those involved in the criminality.
Leaflets will be posted through every door on the estates asking for details on who is involved in crime.
“A lot of people live in fear in these localities but are frightened to supply the information we need for fear of reprisals,” said Supt Morley.
“By promoting the use of Crimestoppers, which people can use to pass on information confidentially without any fear of their identify being known, we hope people will provide us with the details we need.
“We will take all the information provided seriously and will act on it.
“We will also have dedicated neighbourhood policing officers in these areas building up relationships with the communities and developing intelligence.”
He said residents would see a ‘significant presence’ of uniformed police officers around the estates, armed police and a ‘lot of proactive policing activity, including the execution of search warrants’.
- Anyone with information on those involved in criminality in Parson Cross, Manor and Arbourthorne should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.