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Monday, 24 July, 2000, 22:58 GMT 23:58 UK
Elite squad tackles gun warfare
Operation Trident
Operation Trident's elite squad will work with members of the black community
An elite police squad has been formed to tackle the growing problem of black-on-black violence and contract killings in the UK.

The Metropolitan Police revealed the new measures on Monday as it stepped up Operation Trident, its strategy against gun crime in London set up in 1998.

So far this year there have been seven Trident or "black against black" murders and more than 21 attempted murders.


We are totally committed to reducing the number of murders

Commander Michael Fuller, Operation Trident
The new Operational Command Unit (OCU) of more than 160 officers will be the largest team ever to focus on the killings, which police say are largely triggered by disputes over crack cocaine dealing.

Jamaican or black British drug gangs, often dubbed Yardies, are considered among the most violent on the streets of the UK.

Among the team will be a detective who is to be posted to Jamaica to gather intelligence on contract killers who regularly travel to England to carry out shootings.

The team of officers will work throughout London and operate by increasing the number of arrests for drug-related crime.

'Unrelenting response'

Launching the initiative Commander Michael Fuller, head of Operation Trident said: "This will be a sustained and unrelenting response by the Metropolitan Police service.

Black-on-black killings 2000
4 January: Dean Samuels, 26, stabbed in a mobile phone shop in Harlesden. Man charged with murder.
10 March: Darren Henry, 25, shot dead in Edmonton. Two men charged with murder.
10 April: David Dann, 24, shot as he left a block of flats in Blackheath. No-one charged.
25 June: Menelik Robinson, 20, shot dead by two gunmen on a motorbike as he sat in a car in Hackney. No-one charged.
"We are totally committed to reducing the number of murders and combined with support from the black communities will use all resources available to us to achieve this aim."

Last year there were 29 gun murders involving the black community, with innocent people sometimes involved.

While the motive was often drug-related, several incidents have been attributed as so-called "diss" shootings, where the motive was a perceived disrespect shown by the victim.

Mr Fuller said often murders would be organised in the UK before a contract killer was hired from Jamaica to carry out a shooting, with killers arriving in London every two or three months.

The task of the detective flying out to Jamaica will be to gather intelligence from the authorities there so the squad can track down the killers before they strike, he said.

Working in partnership

Owner of Chimes night club in Clapton, east London, and member of the Trident advisory group, Anthony Brightley, said: "For a while now we have known what the problem has been and the solution has been hidden. Operation Trident is the solution."
Kingston. Jamaica
One detective will fly to Jamaica to investigate contract killers
The stepped up operation also coincides with the launch of a new Operation Trident advertising campaign, which will call on the public to play its part in assisting police with their inquiries.

One of the most recent incidents, on Friday, involved a young black youth being shot in the leg in an empty tower block in Harlesden, north west London.

The crime is currently being investigated by officers from Kilburn police station, in conjunction with officers from Operation Trident.

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