Light the candles, blow up the balloons: the Trident Gang Crime Command is a year old today.
The original Operation Trident, of course, was the Met's attempt to work with London’s black community to tackle gun crime. Last year it
rebranded refocused its efforts, taking responsibility for all gang-related crime, regardless of the victim's background.
Over the last few months the Met has regularly pumped out newspaper-friendly pics of piles of guns and drugs, to show just how successful the new unit has been, and in its statement this morning it reeled off a new string of figures to back up its case. 18% fewer shots fired! A 28% fall in youth violence! A combined 1,334 years of prison sentences! Most encouragingly, since April 2012 there have been four gun-related homicides. In the previous year, there were 14.
Whether this is thanks to Trident, the community or broader social trends is perhaps less certain than the Met might hope, and last year’s launch of New Trident was a distinctly controversial move.
At the time, the chair of the Trident Independent Advisory Group Claudia Webbe complained to the Guardian that no one was keeping her in the loop, adding that the switch in focus would distract the unit from its historic role. Three of her colleagues went even further, dismissing the move as pure political posturing, meant to distract from the collapse in the community’s support for the police. Boris Johnson's anti-gang policy, they added, was about nothing more than "splintering doors and media opportunities".
This certainly doesn't sound like the sort of thing our beloved mayor would get up to, of course. Worth noting, too, that this comment was published on the blog of former Ken Livingstone advisor, Lee Jasper. Who's in the right, we'll leave up to you.