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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 March 2008, 13:42 GMT
Gangs raided in force crackdown
Police officer with battering ram
Officers used a battering ram to smash their way inside
Violent gang members in Glasgow have been warned they are being targeted in a long-term police crackdown.

It follows early morning raids in Drumchapel on Friday, arresting several youths suspected of orchestrating serious violence.

Strathclyde Police said it would continue to focus on gang violence and persistent offenders until the problem was eradicated.

A recent study found that Glasgow had more youth gangs than London.

The newly-formed Gangs Task Force, based at Saracen Police Office in Glasgow, forms a key part of the force's commitment to reducing violence and making the streets safer.

There will be a relentless focus on the most persistent and troublesome gang members
Supt Bob Hamilton

The force said it wanted to tackle gang violence and anti-social behaviour head-on.

Its officers, many wearing full riot gear, used battering rams to smash their way into the homes of several men suspected of being members of local gangs.

The unit's head, Supt Bob Hamilton, said: "Our message is clear, we know who the gang members are and basically, we will come and find you.

"We are a unit made up of officers with extensive experience in disorder legislation.

"There will be a relentless focus on the most persistent and troublesome gang members and ringleaders."

Detectives lead away a suspect
Members of the new task force led away a handcuffed suspect

Det Ch Supt Campbell Corrigan, who is leading the force's overall anti-violence campaign, warned gang members that they would continue to be targeted by the specialist officers.

He added: "This is a long-term campaign, it's not something that we intend to leave within days or months - we'll be here until this problem is sorted.

"I would say to those who are involved in gang activity that the time is now to make changes to your life as our officers will not tolerate this behaviour."

Following the dawn raids on the homes of suspected gang leaders, about 40 extra officers patrolled the streets of Drumchapel, Knightswood, Darnley and Arden, which are all notorious violence blackspots.

The officers targeted known hotspots for youth disorder, underage drinking and violence.

They also set up a mobile football pitch in Kendoon Avenue, Drumchapel, for local youngsters to play on.

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