To: Ivor Catt <>

Subject: Yardies dealing in cocained rated most violent criminals

Date: 17 January 2002 20:28

Note the talk of 'communities'. Nothing about families.

Apparently there is too little research into drug addiction in Britain compared to that of the US government. is the US Census page.


Yardies dealing in cocaine rated most violent criminals

Nick Hopkins, crime correspondent

Thursday January 17, 2002

The Guardian

Yardie style gangsters fighting for control of the multi-million pound crack cocaine market are now the most difficult and violent criminals faced by British police, an officer said yesterday.

Commander Alan Brown, head of Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, said the scale and nature of the gangs' activities had increased significantly in recent months, with many incidents characterised by shootings for the most trivial of perceived slights.

Mr Brown, who leads the task force Operation Trident against "black on black" crime, said that there was a pool of youngsters, aged 11 and 12, who would be drawn into the gang culture unless communities pulled together to try to stop the criminals in their tracks.

According to figures released yesterday, 21 people were murdered in London during 2001 in drug related shootings, marking a slight rise from the year before. All the victims were black. There were 67 other attempted murders. Although the gangsters, many of whom are linked to Yardie drug dealers operating in Jamaica, have previously concentrated their activity in five "hotspot" London boroughs, there are signs that their violence is spreading all over the capital.

Mr Brown said it would be wrong to assume that those involved were feuding solely in the boroughs of Haringey, Brent, Hackney, Southwark and Lambeth.

"Out of a total of 32 London boroughs, 30 have seen some form of activity. Twenty-two London boroughs have had shooting incidents."

Last year Operation Trident arrested 441 people, nearly all aged between 16 and 35, and seized 620 kilos of class A drugs, mostly cocaine.

The violence had not abated since the new year, said Mr Brown. There have been two murders and 25 other shootings in the past fortnight. The flow of cocaine into the country from Jamaica is said to be the source of the rivalry between the gunmen.

Two weeks ago, Britain's deputy high commissioner in Jamaica, Phil Sinkinson, sparked a row when he claimed more than one in 10 passengers flying to the UK from the island was smuggling cocaine.

He was challenged by UK customs and excise officers, who said that there were no figures on the number of so-called drugs mules to support what he had been saying, and by officials at Air Jamaica. But Mr Brown said yesterday that a comprehensive search of passengers on two flights in December - both to London airports, one to Heathrow and the other to Gatwick - suggested that Mr Sinkinson was correct.

The flights were not targeted because of a tip-off, but were chosen at random to give investigators an idea of the problem they were up against, said Mr Brown. He added: "There are clearly organisations in both Jamaica and here [in the UK] that have almost a business relationship for supply and retail. The drug and gun culture is producing an incredibly narcissistic generation of young criminals. Their reaction to any act of what they see as disrespect is extreme violence."

Scotland Yard has been working with police in Jamaica to target drugs mules before they board flights to Britain. Security at Norman Manley airport in Jamaica has been increased and passengers fitting the smuggler profile are being stopped as a matter of routine.

The Met is also launching a publicity drive to encourage people to come forward, anonymously if need be, with information about known gunmen. Posters will be put up all over the capital ,and commercials will be aired on radio stations as part of the campaign.

"We have to create an environment that is hostile to the offenders," said Mr Brown.

Killing grounds

Most of the incidents looked at by Operation Trident are linked to disputes about drugs, respect and territory. Alan Brown, head of Scotland Yard's flying squad, said he had investigated shootings sparked by episodes including:

One man's sarcastic remark about another's hairstyle

A man mistakenly treading on the foot of a gangster in a nightclub

Entry to a nightclub refused by a doorman. In this incident, the man trying to enter returned and was alleged to have fired a gun randomly at other people waiting in the queue. Eight people were injured

A row between a DJ and a party goer on New Year's Day. The gunman fired at the DJ, hitting his neck. The bullet then passed through a wall and hit another man. Both men died

Special report

Drugs in Britain

Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002