Meet the team tackling recent violence in north Manchester
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GMP's City of Manchester North division has launched a new team dedicated to tackling the recent rise in violence linked to an ongoing dispute between two groups in the area.
Working with partners within Manchester City Council (MCC), the team comprising of 17 officers including experienced detectives, intelligence officers, proactive patrols and specialist safeguarding officers, was formed in February 2021.
It follows a similar model adopted by GMP's 'disruption hub' in response to a feud between criminal groups in Cheetham Hill in November last year.
The hub supported 32 arrests, 25 warrants, 213 stop searches, four recall to prisons, the seizure of three firearms, 15 vehicles and a large amount of class A and B drugs as part of the operation, codenamed Haemus, and has since seen a steep drop in firearms incidents in the area.
Thirteen people have been charged in relation to the dispute and 45 vulnerable individuals have been safeguarded with support from MCC.
The new team currently have 14 ongoing investigations after a series of linked incidents between two groups in Harpurhey since the beginning of February, including firearms discharges, damage to property and vehicles, and threatening behaviour.
This has included discharges reported on Foleshill Avenue, Queens Road, Honister Road, Somerfield Road and, most recently, St Peter's Square in the city centre.
No one has reported any injuries but detectives have been increasingly concerned by the recklessness and frequency of the incidents.
Nineteen people - aged between 15 and 31 - have been arrested in the last month in relation to the feud and 17 remain under investigation.
Four of those arrests were in relation to reports of shots fired from a red Ford Mondeo towards a silver Vauxhall Astra in the city centre on Saturday 27 February just before 8.30pm.
The Mondeo has been recovered in Harpurhey after it was found abandoned on Blackstone Walk on Monday 1 March, and has since been taken away for forensic enquiries.
Investigators are appealing for information from anyone who may have seen the vehicle, which is believed to have been stolen from a property on Rochdale Road in the Milnrow area of Rochdale on the morning of Wednesday 24 February.
The new dedicated team has been working closely with housing providers, social services, adult services and a number of other agencies in a partnership approach to tackle violent crime in north Manchester, which has already seen five vulnerable families identified and safeguarded.
The number of patrols in the area has been increased in response to the recent rise in incidents and police continue to work with partners in the local authority as part of the ongoing multi-agency approach.
Superintendent Rebecca Boyce, of GMP's City of Manchester North division, said: "We are hugely encouraged by the work that has been done by our dedicated disruption hub since it was launched in Cheetham Hill in November and I hope the local community have noticed a marked difference in the area.
"Its inception has coincided with a steep drop in incidents within the Op Haemus dispute and this is thanks to the work of all officers and partners involved.
"Our work does not stop there and in more recent weeks we have been faced with a rising dispute between organised crime groups in the Harpurhey area of the city who have engaged in a high volume of violent incidents in a relatively short space of time.
"I understand and share the concerns of members of the local community following these recent events and I implore anyone with information about the incidents, or the people involved, to contact police with the knowledge that information will be treated with the strictest confidence.
"We are committed to doing what we can to disrupt this criminal activity and taking offenders off the streets, but we are also very aware of the young people involved that may be being criminally exploited and are keen to work with partners to safeguard those and ensure they are removed from such coercion."
Deputy leader of Manchester City Council Cllr Nigel Murphy said: "While mercifully no one has been hurt, any firearms incident is obviously a serious cause for concern and we welcome the concerted focus to clamp down on this situation - with the police working closely with other agencies including the council to also address any related issues.
"We will not stand for anyone being put at risk by the reckless actions of these criminal factions."
Anyone with information about any of the incidents should call police on 0161 856 1146 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.