More than 170 arrested as police crack down on serious criminals

Thirty knives and weapons were recovered, 40 drugs seized, 66 vehicles taken and £5,700 cash retrieved.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police arrest a suspect after a pursuit through Harlesden, north west London, as part of Operation Pandilla
Officers from the Metropolitan Police arrest a suspect after a pursuit through Harlesden, north west London, as part of Operation Pandilla

More than 170 arrests were made during a three-day crackdown targeting serious criminals and to help take drugs and weapons off the streets.

Thirty knives and weapons were recovered, 40 drugs seized, 66 vehicles taken and £5,700 cash retrieved as more than 1,200 officers from seven police forces arrested 179 people.

Operation Pandilla focused on arterial roads and motorways in and around London, including the M25, A406, M1 and A40, and used automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and intelligence to target vehicles linked to violent crime.

Wanted suspects were arrested – as were those suspected of knife, weapon, drugs, burglary and robbery offences – between January 17 and 19.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police speak to a moped rider in Harlesden, London, as part of Operation Pandilla
Officers from the Metropolitan Police speak to a moped rider in Harlesden, London, as part of Operation Pandilla (Met Police/PA)

The Metropolitan Police led the operation, working with Thames Valley, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Sussex, West Midlands and British Transport Police.

Superintendent Emma Gulczynski said: “This operation was a joint effort between seven police forces, sharing proactive intelligence and enhancing existing relationship to target those involved in drug, gang and weapon-based violence.

“Tackling violent crime continues be a priority for the Met and this operation saw officers from Birmingham, all the way to the south coast, working closely to crackdown on those using the transport networks to facilitate their criminal activity.

“While removing drugs and weapons from the streets is paramount to keeping London and the county forces safe, safeguarding vulnerable individuals on the cusp of violence is also just as important.

Drugs and guns found during Operation Pandilla
Drugs and guns found during Operation Pandilla (Met Police/PA)

“Some of those arrested exploit children and vulnerable people to help further their criminality and we remain committed to working with partners to identify people at risk of exploitation and provide them with the wrap-around support they require.”

Officers focused on drug dealing, modern slavery, firearms offences, knife possession, burglary and vehicle and catalytic converter theft.

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