This is the moment police targeting firearms and serious organised crime smashed in the doors of a family home in Kensington.
Merseyside Police executed a series of coordinated raids this morning, Thursday, November 9 as part of its ongoing operation disrupting the region's serious organised crime groups (OCGs). Warrants were executed at addresses in West Derby, Wavertree, Orrell Park, Aintree, Knowsley and Kensington as part of an ongoing operation.
During today's warrants 13 men, aged between 16 and 56, and three women, two aged 37 and a third aged 52, were arrested on suspicion of various offences. The ECHO accompanied Merseyside Police as part of the operation and witnessed the moment officers dressed in riot gear smashed in the house's front door.
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Several other officers kicked open the garden gate and covered the back, while police inside arrested a woman and led her terrified family into the front room. Merseyside Police confirmed the warrants were linked to large-scale drugs supply and the use of firearms, including a Skorpion machine pistol recovered in March.
Skorpion weapons were used in three murders in Merseyside last year, including the shooting of 26-year-old beautician Elle Edwards, who was hit when gunman Connor Chapman opened fire outside the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village, Wirral, on Christmas Eve. The firearms, which are Czech-designed, are capable of firing 800 rounds a minute.
Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Ball said: "Skorpion firearms have been shown to be particularly devastating in our communities, as was seen last year with the murder of three of our community members, so it’s absolutely essential we get these firearms off our streets. The activity today shows and highlights how committed we are around pursuing and actively pursuing those engaged in this level of criminality."
The Skorpion was seized in March this year. That seizure led to an offender being sentenced to five and a half years for possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of a firearm without a certificate and possession of controlled Class B drugs (cannabis) with intent to supply. Other previous successes on the operation include £100,000 in cash, 2kgs of cocaine, 400 grams of crack cocaine, 4.5kg of heroin and 3.5kg of cannabis.
DCI Ball said this year has seen 14 discharges in Merseyside, compared with 49 last year. He said: "In January this year, it was the first calendar month when we had zero discharges since records began. This was then repeated for the months of June and September.
“In 2022 we had more than halved the number of discharges in Merseyside compared to 2012 and we hope that this will be further reduced this year – one firearm discharged on our streets is one too many and sadly last year we saw the pain and suffering of five families who lost their loved ones as result of gun crime."
However, he said the force could not do it alone and urged anyone with information to get in touch to get the weapons off the streets.
He told reporters after the warrants were executed: "We do have ways to protect people, I understand that it’s daunting for people to pass that information but these types of criminals are exploiting the young people in our community and those that are most vulnerable so it’s essential that we work together to target this and get the guns off our streets."
Answering a question from the ECHO regarding the extensive use of violence by Merseyside's criminals, DCI Ball said: "We won’t stop until we’ve got all of the guns off our streets. It’s been shown over recent years the level of violence criminals are willing to use on Merseyside and by the nature of using weapons like Skorpions, that are capable of such devastation, that shows what they’re willing to do.
"It does present a challenge but that’s why we want to work with the community because it’s working together with the community that’s going to combat this effectively. We can’t do it on our own."
Information from the public is vital to the success of the ongoing work and anyone who has information about firearms or drug dealing in your community, you can DM @MerPolCC on Twitter or ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook or call 101.
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