THREE suspected gang members have been arrested in Hounslow as part of a crackdown on teen violence.
Police swooped on homes in the borough last Thursday, targeting 12 youths believed to be connected to violent gangs. One person was charged and two more were bailed to return for further questioning.
The raids were part of a huge London-wide operation, in which 140 people were arrested for everything from serious assaults to drug dealing.
Metal detectors were also installed at stations across the capital and there were random weapon searches. A gun was found in Westminster and three dangerous dogs were seized in other boroughs.
The raids came on the day three youths were convicted of killing 16-year-old Ben Kinsella, who was the 17th teenager to be murdered on the streets of London in the first six months of last year.
More than 5,700 knives have been recovered since Operation Blunt 2, the Met's drive to combat knife crime and other serious youth violence, was launched just over a year ago.
Commander Mark Simmons, the man in charge of the operation, said breaking up gangs was an important part of making the streets safe again for youths.
"We know that street gangs often play a part in violent attacks on young people," he said. "Individuals affiliated to gangs are cowardly, acting in packs and using weapons to target and intimidate others. Clearly this is a cause of considerable public concern and the Met has been working hard over the last year to tackle the issue.
"Through intelligence we have identified the individuals we believe are causing the greatest amount harm. We have targeted a number of gangs intent upon causing misery. This operation builds upon that work by focusing on violent offenders, some of whom are gang members, with the intention of arresting them for various offences and placing them before the courts."
Hounslow borough commander David Bilson told the Chronicle last year police had identified 14 gangs operating in Hounslow, though he said some of these came from neighbouring boroughs.