Merseyside's Police Commissioner has praised the force after dawn raids were carried out at 12 addresses across Merseyside and one in North Wales this morning (Thursday, 24 May 2018) as part of an operation set up to tackle gun and drug crime.
Warrants were executed at 12 addresses in Liverpool, Wirral and Wrexham.
Officers have arrested six men and one woman and searches are ongoing at the properties this morning. Officers will be looking to seize any items at the addresses, which are believed to have been bought with money made through criminal enterprise and they will be accompanied by police approved asset recovery teams, who will deal with any such items under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Officers will also be searching a number of businesses linked to individuals arrested today and will be accompanied by representatives from partner agencies, including Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Environmental Health and the Security Industry Authority, to ensure the businesses are not in breach of any current legislation under their jurisdiction.
During the course of the investigation officers have seized five firearms (a Beretta, Uzi machine gun, Baikal and two sawn-off shotguns) along with quantities of Class A and B drugs and a number of cash seizures.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “This well-planned and carefully executed operation demonstrates the Force’s relentless commitment to cracking down on serious and organised crime in Merseyside. I congratulate all those involved in carrying it out.
“It is the result of months of detailed and painstaking work from teams across the whole Force which has been supported by a host of community safety partners. By listening to the concerns of people living in these communities and working closely with them, the Force have gathered the information they need to put together this operation. This has led to guns and drugs being taken off our streets, making them a safer place to live.
“This type of crime has a direct impact on our communities, whether it be through the fear that makes people afraid to leave their homes, the drugs that bring misery to our streets or the guns that can cause serious injury or kill. Tackling serious and organised crime is one of my policing priorities and today’s operation shows that the Force will do everything possible to stop this type of criminal activity to make the streets of Merseyside safer."
Chief Inspector Paul Court, said: “The action taken by officers this morning is the culmination of a 10-month operation targeting those involved in serious and organised crime in the Wavertree area.
"The investigation was put in place after members of the public raised concerns about drug dealing in their communities. Sadly, sometimes those involved in the supply and distribution of drugs will resort to using firearms to protect their illegal trade, or to resolve petty disputes.
He added: "I would like to reassure that the public that we are relentless in our pursuit of those involved in serious and organised crime and we are committed to making our streets safer for our communities.
"No-one should have to put up with drug dealing, and the associated crime it brings. We will work together with our communities to improve the quality of life in our neighbourhoods and make our communities stronger."
Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Green, added: “We carefully planned this initiative over several months and today's operation is testament to the Force's commitment - with the support of the public and partner agencies - to tackling gun crime in Merseyside.
"As part of this operation we have already recovered five firearms and a substantial quantity of Class A drugs.
"These arrests send out a clear message to those involved in gun crime - the use of firearms blights our communities and puts ordinary law abiding people at risk. We will not stand by and let these people wreak havoc and cause fear in our communities.
"I can reassure the public that we will keep up the pressure on gun crime offenders and will pursue them relentlessly and put them before the courts to make our streets safer.
"The action we have taken today has been made possible thanks to members of the public who have taken a stand and given us information and I would appeal to anyone who has information about those involved in gun crime, or where guns are being stored, to contact us. We will act on all information about gun crime offences to make our streets safer for our communities."
Lucia Howland, Regional Investigation Manager, Security Industry Authority, said: "The core of our partnership work is in the pursuit of common goals. This operation means that we can ensure that individuals and companies operating within the private security industry comply with the law and at the same time, limit the ability of organised crime to operate in the area."
Kate Gore, Chair of the Merseyside Independent Advisory Group who act as critical friends for Merseyside Police in an advisory capacity, said: "I and some of my colleagues were able to go along on the operation today to see first-hand the work being carried out to tackle gun and drugs related crime in our communities. We now have a greater understanding of how these operations come together and can see the importance of this work in our communities."
Anyone with information about serious and organised crime can contact the force social media desk @MerPolCC, or by calling us on 101.
You can also report crimes anonymously via @CrimestoppersUK or by calling 0800 555 111.