Radio Sandwell Local News

Gang turf war behind 20 Birmingham shootings, police chief reveals

2016-02-01 21:28:05

West Midlands PoliceThe closed section of the B4124 in Hamstead, Birmingham, after a shooting.

Police have revealed a gang turf war is to blame for at least 20 shootings in Birmingham in less than a year.

Assistant Chief Constable Carl Foulkes will tell the Police and Crime Board on Tuesday that the spiralling number of incidents is linked to just two city gangs - but they have not been named.

He will say six of 20 “known” shootings took place over one August Bank Holiday weekend and warned tensions mounted further after four people were wounded in a drive-by shooting outside a Costcutter shop in Hockley in October.

ACC Foulkes’s report comes after new Chief Constable Dave Thompson said last month that shootings were happening in Birmingham with “concerning regularity”. He said he had not seen as many gun incidents in his five years with the force.

As well as the gang-related incidents, ACC Foulkes will also tell the Board that there were seven unrelated shootings in East Birmingham over Christmas and New Year.

To combat the spiralling violence the force has already mounted 23 tactical firearm operations involving armed officers in January alone and has increased firearm patrols in “specific areas” across the West and Central area.

West Midlands PoliceThe scene of a double shooting in Hockley

It has also recovered more than 20 firearms so far this year, has made a number of arrests and is planning a firearms surrender this month.

In a report to the Board, ACC Foulkes said: “Since April 2015 there have been over 20 known firearm discharges which have been linked to the two main Organised Crime Group’s (OCG), based on the Birmingham West and Central Local Policing Unit (LPU).

“Both groups include various chaotic young males and during the summer months intelligence was received about increased tensions being felt in the Newtown area.”

ACC Foulkes said there were six shootings over the August Bank Holiday weekend, which led to a number of arrests.

He added: “However, on October 10 a shooting took place where four individuals were shot and wounded in Great Hampton Row, Hockley. None of the injuries were life threatening but the ‘drive-by’ method of attack, the location and time of the incident, and the shooting of four individuals made this incident the most significant of the series to date.

“Very little intelligence has been received alluding to the cause of this dispute, but the release of gang videos from both sides of the conflict, the capture of various other social media events and intelligence indicates that animosity between both groups has been steadily building, and that personal disagreements and territorial issues are central.

“In addition to a number of isolated incidents across the force area, there were a series of seven firearm discharges on the Birmingham East LPU over the Christmas period and New Year.

“Although not linked, this series caused grave concern for both police and the wider community and there have already been a number of arrests and firearms recovered directly linked to these incidents.”

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