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Camden News - by PAUL KEILTHY
Published: 26 November 2009
A gun seized by police during a raid on a house in Camden in August
A gun seized by police during a raid on a house in Camden in August
Firearm suspects warned they will face armed raids

Police launch new crackdown as gun crime figures show increase

GUN crime is rising in Camden and the borough’s most senior detective has warned that anyone suspected of having a firearm could be raided by armed police.
The Met’s official figures reveal a rise of more than 60 per cent in the last year, although the statistics are being reviewed due to problems with recording procedures, according to senior officers.
No one denies however that there has been a upward trend in gun crime over the past three years.
Detective Superintendent Neil Wilson, who took over Camden CID in September, said: “We do want to send a message to people that if they hold the weapons for other people they are looking at a substantial custodial sentence, and they are facilitating the use of that firearm, which may have lethal circumstances.
“I have seen the consequences of shootings and it is two families devastated – one family has to go to a funeral and one family has to visit prison for years and years and years. And I’ve seen mothers of victims and perpetrators hand in hand – one has lost her son to the ground, the other to the state.”
Despite police reluctance to discuss gangs, Det Supt Wilson acknowledged that gang-related drug dealing and robbery in turn feed gun crime. He said: “They’re intrinsically linked. Gun, gangs, knives and drugs are all in the same framework. It’s fair to say that we have got something embryonic in terms of guns and gangs in Camden. It is at a low level compared to other boroughs but clearly we don’t want it to escalate.”
By October there had been 53 “gun-enabled crimes” officially recorded by police since April. This is less than half the number in neighbouring Haringey or Brent, and on a par with Islington and Westminster. But it is a very substantial increase on previous years.
The last person to be killed with a firearm in Camden was 17-year-old Sharma’arke Hassan, fatally shot on the canal path in Camden Town in May last year. Three men will stand trial for his murder next year.
But non-fatal shootings, and armed robberies, are rising.
A dramatic chase through West Hampstead resulted in the capture by armed police of a man who had allegedly tried to steal a moped at gunpoint in Sherriff Road on October 6.
In Kilburn in September, a man suffered a wound to his foot when at least eight shots were fired outside the Cricketers Pub in Belsize Road. Detectives believe that a MACH 10 machine-pistol was used.
In June, two teenagers were shot and a third was pistol-whipped in Ainsworth Way, near Kilburn’s Rowley Way estate. In the same week, a man was found with a gunshot wound to the leg in Gospel Oak.
Both incidents are thought to be gang-related.
Another man was found seriously injured after being shot in his car in Roderick Road, Gospel Oak, in April.
The response from Camden CID has been what Det Supt Wilson calls “a robust stance”. In the last week, a teenager was arrested after an armed raid on his family’s home in Camden Town uncovered a revolver and ammunition. Further raids are expected.
Det Supt Wilson added: “We are acting on any intelligence we receive about where a gun might be. People who are holding guns should think about that – we can only respond to firearms with firearms, and that means placing people in danger, including their families. People who suspect someone of holding a gun, should tell us.”

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