Arrests made by city’s new police gang team

Action: Lancashire Police officers pictured on a previous raid in Preston in 2011
Action: Lancashire Police officers pictured on a previous raid in Preston in 2011
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More than 40 people with suspected links to crime gangs have been arrested in the Preston area in the last month, police said today.

The arrests form part of Operation Nemesis, a new police team set up to thwart a potential rise in gang related crimes in Preston, Skelmersdale and surrounding areas.

Detectives have warned suspected gang members who cause misery in communities will have nowhere to hide as the team hits criminals known to be involved with local crime groups.

It is aiming to tackle more serious crimes such as violence, and possession and use of weapons as well as lower level crimes committed by people who associate with crime groups such as drug dealing.

The ongoing project was triggered in response to the public’s concerns about crime groups in certain neighbourhoods.

Det Chief Insp Steve Dowson said: “Our intelligence on these people is good and we are going to tackle them before they have the chance to become an issue.

“We have had no noticeable increase in crimes we believe are linked to gangs in the area, we are just looking at getting upstream and preventing it.

“Professional judgement allows us to say this is where we could get problems in the future and there are still incidents that happen between local rival gangs.”

He added: “Anyone who wants to come away from this kind of lifestyle we will give all available help to, but if they don’t, they will feel the full weight of the law.”

Police will focus on prosecutions, disrupting criminal lifestyles through other means such as civil orders, and will work to prevent “at risk” youngsters becoming involved with gangs.