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Operation launched to protect school children from gangs and violence

The action coincides with the start of the new school year

An operation has been launched to protect local children from gang culture and violence, as the new school year starts.

Police are working in Havering, Barking and Dagenham, and Redbridge to support youngsters who become victims of gang-related crime.

As part of Operation Riverside, extra patrols will be carried out across all three boroughs at the start and end of the school day.

Officers will also work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring young offenders before the courts as swiftly as possible. 

Further measures will be put in place to ensure that those released on bail are compliant with their bail conditions and those who are not compliant will be taken into custody.

And letters have been sent to the parents of those who are believed to be involved in gang activity, making them aware of the police activity and encouraging them to deter their children from involving themselves in actions that could negatively affect their futures.

Detective Chief Inspector Seb Adjei-Addoh, who is overseeing the police side of the operation, said: “We have a duty of care toward all of our youngsters, and every young person arrested is offered the opportunity to work with experts to formulate an exit strategy away from criminality.

“However, this initiative focuses heavily on protecting law-abiding children from those who would commit violence against them by minimising opportunities for conflict to escalate to a stage where someone may be physically hurt.

“Youngsters have been away from school for many months and, during that time, there may have been any number of disputes and grudges created either face-to-face or online.

“The steps we are taking now aim to mitigate that threat and reduce the number of youngsters becoming victims of violent crime, gang related or otherwise, while at the same time reducing the number of our youngsters whose lives and future prospects are tainted by a criminal record.”

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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