West Midlands Police continues to make significant progress in the fight against violent crime in Birmingham − as a crackdown on organised crime nets suspected gang members and recovers weapons.
The initiative − codenamed Project Yawbridge − has seen numerous warrants executed and more than 60 weapons seized. And more than 140 firearms and pieces of ammunition have been handed in during the force’s firearms surrender which was launched last month.
Notably, drugs warrants have been executed in the Bordesley Green area targeting known drug dealers. Drugs and cash have been seized from several addresses and a BB gun was uncovered hidden in a loft space. A number of people have been arrested and released pending further investigation and enquiries are on-going.
A firearm and drugs were also discovered following a search at a house in Lozells. And another firearm was recovered from an address in Winson Green recently.
Several arrests and charges have been made for firearms offences including:
• Traffic management worker, Justin Hadley (25) from Harcourt Road, Erdington, charged with affray.
• Unemployed, Russell Broughton (47) of no fixed address, charged with possession of a firearm, section 18 wounding, possession of Class A drugs and traffic offences. He was remanded in custody.
• Unemployed, Darrel Thompson (31) from Sandhill Farm Close, Lozells, charged with possession of a firearm and assault and remanded in custody.
Police ‘lockdowns’ have also taken place in areas affected by violent crime as large numbers of officers, including armed officers, flooded areas and utilised stop and search powers. Again, a number of arrests have been made during these operations and weapons, drugs and stolen vehicles have been seized.
Detective Chief Inspector Colin Mattinson from Force CID, said: "Our continued focused activity has been a real success. Our activity has seen us recover a number of weapons and drugs from our streets. We’ve also made some key arrests.
"Project Yawbridge also focuses on disrupting organised crime groups, taking away their weapons and getting them punished for their criminal activities.
"In addition we recently secured landmark court injunctions to break-up a large Birmingham crime gang network. We have other work planned too and have officers working around the clock to close-in on gangs who bring fear to our communities.
"We want to keep our communities safe from people who carry weapons or commit crime, my message to anyone doing this is clear, we will find you and deal with you robustly.
"I’d urge anyone who has information or suspicions about people that could be linked to crime to call us on 101 or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "West Midlands Police are getting dangerous weapons off our streets and protecting communities from the scourge of violence.
"The gun surrender means that there are now more than 140 fewer weapons in the West Midlands.
"Every gun handed-in potentially is a life saved.
"If anyone out there has a weapon - or knows someone who does get in touch with West Midlands Police, it may be the best decision you ever make."