Today (Monday 22 May) Merseyside Police and the Police Commissioner joined forces with partners to tackle serious organised crime across the region.
In the last year, the police and the Commissioner have invested significant resources into tackling organised crime, which has seen firearms discharges reduce. Unfortunately, there are still a small number of people who are prepared to use guns on the streets of Merseyside.
They have no consideration for other members of the communities they live in and sadly this has been evidenced by the senseless and cold-blooded murders of Sam Rimmer, Ashley Dale, Olivia Pratt-Korbel, Jackie Rutter and Elle Edwards.
In 2022, the number of firearms discharges in Merseyside were the lowest for more than 20 years. The force has worked hard to bring down the number of discharges and will do everything in its power to prevent further discharges and loss of life – one discharge is too many.
That’s why Chief Constable Serena Kennedy and Commissioner Emily Spurrell want to keep this momentum going and will continue to work with partners to show that organised crime will not win in our region.
Today’s Tackling Organised Crime Summit brought together senior figures from local authorities, health services, housing, education, charities, and community groups.
The people and organisations in attendance are dedicated to community safety and making Merseyside a safer place to live, work and visit.
In workshops facilitated by Dr Zara Quigg from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), attendees looked at various issues including the importance of community intelligence, collaboration between partners and communities, sustainability of grant funding and embedding a trauma informed approach to violence prevention, to see how they could further the work already underway.
The workshops allowed attendees to share their own experiences and put forward ideas and practices that can improve how this issue is tackled best for their communities.
Following the Summit, Merseyside Police and the Commissioner will continue to work with partners to keep the momentum going to make local communities safer. The creation of a working group will develop forward-looking strategies to support the work being done to disrupt and prevent organised crime.
Together it will look at what actions can be taken to improve areas blighted by organised crime gangs (OCGs) and ensure that the plans are dedicated to reducing serious organised crime in the future.
Merseyside Police and the Commissioner continue to work with partners on a series of operations to reassure the public and tackle serious organised crime.
The Clear, Hold, Build project, known locally as EVOLVE, sees the police working with partners and residents in Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral and Netherton to disrupt and deter organised crime group (OCG) activity and help stop neighbourhoods being exploited by these criminals.
An immediate crackdown of serious and organised crime following the shootings in 2022 – Operation Miller – has led to 904 arrests, 151 warrants and 14 firearms recovered.
Operation Athena is a proactive policing operation that aims to disrupt organised crime across Knowsley and reassure communities following an injury shooting on Brookwood Road on Tuesday 2 May. During a recent day of action on Wednesday 3 May, Merseyside Police made seven arrests, seized drugs, cash and recovered a viable firearm.
Chief Constable Serena Kennedy (pictured above) said, “Serious and organised crime poses a significant threat to our communities. Merseyside Police is committed to tackling OCGs and is pursuing these criminals with the full force of the law.
“Merseyside is a great place to live, work and visit. Today’s Summit will help strengthen relationships between partners and harness the force of Merseyside to tackle serious organised crime.
“Effective prevention alongside enforcement is the way forward. There is fantastic partnership work already taking place to tackle organised crime, from prevention initiatives to community outreach programmes. It is vital that we, and our partner agencies, align our collective efforts to nurture a whole-system approach to tackle this issue and break the cycle of young people being drawn into crime.”
“We all have our part to play and together we can make a difference. Everyone in attendance today has the same goal: to make our streets safer from the OCGs blighting our communities and preventing them from causing serious harm in the future.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell (pictured above) said: “OCGs have no morals and no care for anyone, but themselves and their own greed. They bring misery, suffering and harm to our communities.
“There will never be a place for them in our proud, caring region.
“Merseyside Police are recognised across the country for their relentless approach to tackling and disrupting these heartless criminals. I am committed to doing everything in my power to support that work and today’s Summit demonstrated, once again, how deeply that determination is shared across Merseyside.
“Working together – and with our communities – we can build a stronger, safer Merseyside where there is nowhere for these OCGs to hide, and they face the justice they deserve.”
Steve Rotheram (pictured above), Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Over the last few weeks, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have come to our region to celebrate spectacles like the Grand National Festival and the Eurovision Song Contest – and they will have experienced for themselves what a kind, welcoming, inclusive, and safe area it really is.
“The real Liverpool City Region is a place where the overwhelming majority of people are decent, hardworking, law-abiding citizens who want to go about their lives in peace and safety. While those involved in serious organised crime are in the minority – it’s crucial that we stand together against them.
“Merseyside Police do a good job of protecting our communities day in, day out. They have my support in ensuring that we continue to work together to make our region one of the best places to grow up and grow old in.”
Mark Camborne (pictured above), Assistant Director of Neighbourhoods, Safety & Transport at Wirral Borough Council said: “Tackling organised crime is not only about robust enforcement action using all of the criminal and civil tools and powers available, it’s also about making it more difficult for crime groups to operate by building community resilience and regenerating areas.
“We are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the police and other partners to tackle these complex issues, to enable residents to live safely and happily.”
Case Study – Tackling youth crime and antisocial behaviour through the power of rugby
A pioneering early intervention programme, delivered through the power of rugby, has engaged more than 1000 schoolchildren across Wirral. Due to the success of the prevention programme, it will now be extended to reach even more at-risk youngsters in Merseyside.
Merseyside Police launched ‘Rugby Beats Robbery’ in 2022 and teamed up with the Sale Sharks Foundation, Birkenhead Park Rugby Club and Wirral School Games to pilot the initiative across Wirral, targeting at-risk students from hard-to-reach catchment areas.
Since its launch, the programme has engaged with more than 1000 young people from the Woodchurch and Hilbre areas and has led to player participation in under 12s increasing by 40%.
Anyone who has information about those involved in serious organised crime or information about where guns are being stored, should contact Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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