Shootings drastically down and knife crime reduced in Salford as prolific OCG disruption team hits third year

Shootings in Salford have reduced by over 70% since the introduction of a dedicated anti-gang taskforce disrupting the activity of the city’s organised criminals two years ago.

The Operation Naseby disruption hub was formed in April 2020 to get under the skin of local gangs after 25 firearms discharges had been recorded in the previous 12 months.

Now – after 279 arrests, 297 vehicle seizures, 118 house searches, and the recovery of nearly 50kilos of drugs – shootings are down 72% with seven recorded in the last year and 15 in the year before.

Originally intended to be a standalone six-week blitz on organised crime, the team has successfully tackled criminal groups for the last two years thanks to the work of over 30 officers tasked with proactively targeting and tackling suspects -with funding expected to continue to the foreseeable future.

The affront on the city’s OCGs has been spearheaded by experienced detectives, complex safeguarding officers, neighbourhood patrols, and pursuit-trained officers, as well as partners from Salford City Council in a multi-agency response.

Thanks to our offensive on criminals, weapons taken off the streets include a loaded handgun, a shotgun, two loaded crossbows, a number of machetes and dozens of other knives and bladed articles.

Offenders have been sentenced to over 66 years’ worth of custodial sentences, with many others being recalled to prison or receiving criminal behaviour orders requiring them to continue abiding by strict conditions following their release from custody.

Most recently, drug dealer Zach Trott (26), of Ellesmere Street, was jailed on Wednesday 6 April for two years and four months after our anti-gang cops caught him last summer just months after pursuing him in another chase where we detained him and found £3k’s worth of cannabis.

A Bolton man was also put behind bars earlier this month after being stopped by covert Naseby officers patrolling just outside the Salford border when they spotted a suspicious vehicle in July 2020.

Myles Hindley (31), of New Street, Blackrod, was sentenced to two years in prison after he was found to be driving a £30,000 Range Rover that had been stolen from Bury less than six weeks earlier – despite him claiming that it was a hire car.

As the operation continues to drive a wedge between offenders and criminality, detectives at Swinton CID are keen to enhance their proactive approach by intervening at an earlier stage when young people are involved in less-organised crime in the form of Urban Street Gangs (USGs).

Along with the recent re-launch of the city’s multi-agency Project Gulf, we aim to ensure our approach to diverting younger people away from lower-level gang crime at an early stage will prevent future generations of organised criminals operating in Salford – by protecting the exploited and pursuing the exploiters.

This work has already begun with School Engagement Officers interacting with young students in the city’s schools and colleges, and we are determined to work closely with local partners in education to steer more children away from a life of gangs and violence.

Knife crime continues to be one of the main priorities in each of the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs, and we are pleased that reported offences are down in Salford in the last year.

Our commitment to maintaining the crackdown on weapons, criminals, drugs and their assets is hoped will continue to drive down violent crime on our streets even further as our work sustains without relent.

We’ve been able to conduct well over 100 house searches in the last year thanks to intelligence we have received from the public, and we continue to urge anyone with information or concerns to contact us online via LiveChat, if able, or by calling 101.

Details can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Detective Chief Inspector Rick Thompson, head of GMP Salford’s proactive policing, said: “After two years of Operation Naseby, it’s plain to see the prolific impact our tireless disruption team have had in all corners of our city since it was introduced two years ago.

“When the taskforce was formed, it was on a short-term basis with the simple aim of getting under the skin of organised criminals and doing all we could to be out there on the streets stopping and searching suspects, their homes, the vehicles they were in and seizing anything of criminal value.

“That’s seen us intercept and disrupt the type of activity organised crime groups were engaging in that was seeing us suffer the high rates of shootings we were seeing two years ago; now we’re taking vehicles, drugs, and weapons from these individuals and arresting those suspected of being involved.

“We’ve been able to hugely increase our understanding of these groups – with over 500 intelligence logs being submitted – but I must stress that a great deal of information we receive comes from the public and thanks to the people of Salford we’ve have information that’s lead us to well over 100 house searches.

“Our enforcement action has produced staggering results but it’s still seven shootings too many, and our commitment now is to focus our work with partners and local neighbourhood teams into proactively intervening at an earlier stage with young people who may be at a risk of later being involved in organised crime.

“This work is vital in stamping out future generations of serious criminality, but also in reducing the ongoing concerns around violent crime, drug use, and anti-social behaviour in their communities that affects the people we serve on a daily basis.”

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