Police make 14 arrests after executing large-scale firearms warrants in Harold Hill
PUBLISHED: 09:15 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:18 06 February 2019
Police made 14 arrests in Harold Hill this morning (Wednesday, February 6) as part of a major operation to target those believed to be in possession of firearms and linked to serious organised crime.
Units from the Basic Command Unit (BCU), firearms and traffic as well as taskforce officers executed three firearms warrants at around 3.20am.
The warrants formed part of an intelligence-led, proactive operation.
So far, officers have seized a sawn-off shotgun, ammunition, an imitation firearm, as well as large amounts of cash and a quantity of class B drugs, namely believed to be cannabis and searches at the locations will continue over the coming days.
The suspects were arrested on suspicion of a number of offences, including possession of a firearm, indecent assault, grievous bodily harm, assault on police, possession of class B drugs, money laundering, theft of a vehicle and immigration offences.
They were arrested at one site in Lower Bedfords Road and two sites in Benskins Lane, Romford.
Commander Dave Musker, who led the operation, said: “This was a major firearms operation, which has seen us initially arrest 14 people and remove a dangerous weapon off the streets, as well as drugs and cash.
“The Met is committed to tackling violent crime, and today’s successful operation demonstrates that those believed to be in possession of offensive weapons and involved in serious organised crime will be dealt with robustly.
“We will continue to search the locations over the next 48 hours to ensure that any further evidence linked to criminality is recovered so officers can thoroughly investigate.”
East Area BCU Commander, Jason Gwillim, said: “I’m sure that today’s operation will have shocked many residents in the surrounding streets and local community.
“Based on the intelligence available to us, this was a necessary action that we had to take to help reduce violent crime.
“Due to the scale of this operation, a number of road closures were put in place as a precaution; if this caused local residents any disruption then I apologise. Your safety is our number one concern and we felt it appropriate.
“For the next few days you will continue to see police carry out their investigation across the three locations and we will endeavour to update you as soon as we can with any further information.
“If anyone has any concerns, or information that they believe may assist us with our enquiries, please approach one of my officers who will be happy to help.”
Agencies from the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) were also involved in the morning’s activities.
A spokesman on behalf of the GAIN said: “By working in partnership and sharing intelligence lawfully and efficiently, the GAIN aims to ensure that government agencies, along with police, will help reduce the risk, threat and harm from serious and organised crime, in the most cost effective way.
“Today’s action is an excellent example of adopting a multi-agency approach.”