In the first nine months of 2019, more than 100 people linked to organised crime gangs were arrested and record numbers of weapons taken off the streets.
Offenders linked to organised crime groups (OCGs) in Bedfordshire were sentenced to more than 200 years in prison from January to September this year.
Over the same timeframe Bedfordshire Police disrupted OCGs by:
- Arresting 101 people
- 34 suspects charged
- More than five kilos of Class A and two kilos of Class B drugs seized
- Six firearms seized
In addition there has been a surge in the number of weapons being taken off the county’s streets.
In October 1,632 knives were recovered from Bedfordshire Police’s weapons bins; 859 in the north and 773 in the south.
As well as these knives, other additional weapons handed in included 11 firearms, nine meat cleavers and a nunchuka.
The previous two times the bins were emptied, in September 2018 and March 2019, 1,206 knives and 992 knives respectively were recovered.
The force’s property team has destroyed slightly fewer than 400 firearms over the past two months, which were seized in investigations or handed in over the past 18 months.
These weapons included handguns, sawn-off shotguns, crossbows, tasers, BB guns and double barrelled shotguns.
5,000 bladed articles were also destroyed in the same timeframe. These ranged from kitchen knives, lock knives, machetes and swords through to bike spikes.
A lot of these weapons were found as part of Operation Sceptre work combatting knife crime in the county.
Bedfordshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, the National Police Chiefs Council’s lead for serious youth violence, said: “Tackling organised crime, serious violence and exploitation is absolutely integral to our efforts around keeping Bedfordshire safe.
“We will continue to take enforcement action against those involved in this offending, while our communities are undoubtedly safer now thousands of weapons have been taken off the streets.
“While the police will continue to be at the sharp end of this problem, it is vital that we continue to work with our partners and communities to tackle the root causes of these hugely challenging issues and provide a long term solution.
“That’s why we are so supportive of our Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit, which will invest in and support grassroots initiatives and projects across the county in order to divert people away from a life of crime and towards a better future.”