I think this has been said before, many times before, but it needs saying again. #CutsHaveConsequences, particularly when it comes to safeguarding the general public in London from the insidious encroachment of gangs wielding all kinds of weaponry on the streets. That’s why Operation Trident was established wasn’t it? To ensure that mums & dads, their kids & aunties & uncles and grand-parents could feel safe (and very much alive) going about their daily affairs on London’s streets.
Operation Trident emerged in 1998 as a result of sustained community pressure to tackle the disproportionate effects of gun crime on black communities, where both the victim and the assailant are black.The Metropolitan Police Service now has a dedicated Operation Trident police response unit. Has? Shouldn’t we say ‘had’ since the original task force along with its original aims (to tackle gun crime & resulting homicides) has been disbanded. Did I say disbanded? Well, in 2013 it was reformed and renamed the ‘Trident Gang Crime Command’ mostly I suspect because the name sounds impressive. The decision to turn Trident into a broader ‘command’ dealing with gangs was taken without warning two years ago, leaving London without a unit focused on armed crime. Figures suggest that after this, shooting incidents soared. More pointedly the woman who had a hand in establishing the original project-Claudia Webbe, had opposed the changes calling them ‘a backwards step on race’.
You might naively ask what a unit focused on murderous black gangs, operating in predominately black neighbourhoods, could possibly have to do with the rest of London. I say naively, because as the shooting of Mark Duggan proved, events which affect one sector of society, can impact adversely on everybody. We have had riots before, but never has the death of one victim triggered off the kind of mayhem that occurred during the 2011 riots. People’s livelihoods and homes were obliterated, lives were lost and the conduct of many of the rioters gave rise to alot of questions none of which have been satisfactorily answered. Questions such as how long had the police known about the (then) potent effectiveness of the Blackberry messenger gang grapevine?
Other questions have since been thrown up, such as what possessed the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the court case being brought against the man who later went on to allegedly supply Mark Duggan with a gun. Today, both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service refuse to explain why; even more strangely, the CPS says it ‘cannot locate’ the paperwork which set out the reasons for this decision. Furthermore, the same gun supplier – gangland figure Kevin Hutchinson-Foster – used the BBM Bruni Model 92 handgun he allegedly gave to Duggan, to shoot one man in the back at a supermarket and later to ‘pistol-whip’ another man a week before Duggan died.
Given those facts, he should have been in prison, at least on remand, and not roaming freely around the streets of London. Could this be another instance of a nasty, psychotic gangster being left at large in the midst of peaceful, law abiding, black communities, because he is useful to the police? Perhaps if he hadn’t been quite so ‘useful’ Mark Duggan would still be alive today, as would the two sons of the Birmingham businessman who had the great misfortune to get caught up in the madness of the riots.
Finally, Quicksilver (the name of a character from the film ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’) was the code name of the place where police officers met in order to be briefed, prior to intercepting Mark Duggan. One wonders at the mindset of the officers involved in the shooting of Mark Duggan, a family man with six children. #CutsHaveConsequences, it takes money to fund the kind of research and investigatory operations that make the use of psychotic informants redundant. It takes investment to create the kind of oversight committee that can genuinely and convincingly hold England’s police to account. It takes increased funding to create the kind of day-to-day supervisory body, that can zone in on operations such as these, and query and challenge suspect behaviour on the part of certain police officers. But increased investment isn’t what either the police or the communities they serve have seen and who is to blame for that?
Credit to the Daily Mail for some of the details in this article