Police hope to stop gang crime in Wellingborough and Rushden

Det Insp Lee McBride speaking at the Ending gangs and youth violence workshop yesterday

Det Insp Lee McBride speaking at the Ending gangs and youth violence workshop yesterday

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Action is being taken to tackle the problem of gangs and the impact they have on people living in those communities.

Operation Worcester was launched last year after an increasing problem with violence in Wellingborough and East Northants.

Work to stamp out drug crime in East Northants in 2014 had led to voids in the market which other groups tried to take over.

As violence rose, including the use of firearms, one man was shot in Rushden in July 2015 and a 15-year-old boy was shot in Wellingborough in September.

While the incidents weren’t linked, police had to find a way to stop the violence escalating.

The work they have done since then was shared at the first of three ‘ending gangs and youth violence’ workshops which was held on the Hemmingwell estate in Wellingborough yesterday.

Organisations including the police, education and social services and church groups were invited, and they heard from people who have been involved in gangs in London and Birmingham about ways to tackle the issue.

With about 180 people due to attend the workshops, it is hoped all of these organisations can work together to make a difference for the youngsters involved, as well as for their siblings, families and the communities they live in.

Det Insp Lee McBride, who has been running the investigative side of Operation Worcester, said there are five known gangs in Wellingborough and Rushden, with about 35 people involved.

When Operation Worcester began the risk of an incident involving groups which could result in fatal consequences was deemed highly likely, but this has since fallen.

Successes include 50 arrests and £28,000 worth of drugs seized.

Sector inspector for East Northants Julie Mead said although there is an issue with gangs, she added: “Our gangs are not as established as other areas so we can still stop these gangs getting worse and taking them out of the equation in sleepy Northamptonshire.”