DCI Rick Thompson discusses the work of Operation Naseby so far:
Operation Naseby a year on: Salford disruption activity sees shootings down, targets behind bars, and significant seizures of drugs, weapons and cars in its first year
Firearms discharges have almost halved in Salford after GMP's dedicated operation to tackle organised crime in the city has seen the seizure of scores of weapons, drugs, and cars, as well as 180 arrests since its formation a year ago.
The Operation Naseby disruption hub was introduced in April 2020 after a total of 25 firearms discharges, mostly involving a series of violent incidents between two rival criminal groups, in the space of 12 months in Salford.
Over 30 officers - including detectives, complex safeguarding officers, neighbourhood patrols, and pursuit-trained officers - were tasked with proactively targeting and tackling offenders suspected of being involved in organised crime.
Since its inception, the team has supported 179 arrests, 180 vehicle seizures, recovered over £500,000's worth of drugs, and searched over 75 houses.
Weapons recovered have included a shotgun, two loaded crossbows, a number of machetes and dozens of other knives and bladed articles.
Due to a backlog of court cases due to the pandemic, a further 42 cases are currently waiting to be heard.
Twenty people have been recalled to prison, and numerous other offenders have been convicted of a range of drug, driving, and firearms offences, including several targets from the outset of the operation.
This includes Jamie Swindells, 22, of Hereford Road, Eccles, who was convicted in September 2020 of possession of a bladed weapon, and possession with intent to supply crack cocaine after he was stopped in a vehicle and searched by officers.
Swindells was believed to be involved in the dispute in the Kersal and Lower Broughton area in April 2020, which was one of the catalysts that prompted the hub's launch. He is now serving a five-and-a-half year sentence.
Last week, Olatunde Kuberofsky, 23, from Salford, was jailed for over two-and-a-half years for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine, heroin and cocaine, and assault of an emergency worker, following a vehicle stop in Seedley.
Kuberofsky tried to run away from the vehicle and physically assaulted an officer prior to being detained; subsequent searches found he was in possession of large quantities of Class A drugs and money.
Yesterday (Tuesday 20 April), Tony Partington, 30, of Southgarth Road, and Spencer Candland, 36, of Langworthy Road, were jailed after they were found to have over £150,000's worth of cannabis in their car boot and at Partingon's address when stopped by officers in Langworthy in February 2020.
They have each been sentenced to two-and-a-half years.
Resources from GMP's Serious and Organised Crime Group, and Specialist Operations Unit have also been used to assist with the disruption hub's work.
The team have worked with local agencies across Salford to safeguard vulnerable adults and children, and have continued collaboration with Salford City Council with Project Gulf - an initiative focused on diverting young people away from crime.
Detective Chief Inspector Rick Thompson, head of proactive Salford CID, said:
"A year on from the start of the Op Naseby disruption hub we can see the positive impact that the relentless work from our dedicated team has had on the streets of Salford.
"When the hub began, this was a project planned to last six weeks to try and disrupt the sequence of incidents that we were seeing, but as time has gone on this has grown into a vital tool in our overarching effort to tackle organised crime in the city.
"We're in a position now where nearly all of the targets we identified 12 months ago are either making their way through the courts or are now behind bars, and we are not going to stop there.
"Our officers have dedicated a significant amount of time and effort, alongside their day to day duties, to making a real difference to the communities they serve and we will continue to work tirelessly to drive down local organised criminality.
"There is still work to be done - there were still 15 firearms discharges in the last year, which is a 40% drop on the year before, but we want that number to be brought down further.
"To do that, we are committed in continuing our pursuit of offenders involved in vehicle-taking, drug-dealing, and possessing weapons, and ensuring we work with partners to safeguard vulnerable people at risk of being coerced into this activity.
"I'd like to thank the public for their on-going support while reminding them of the importance of reporting suspicious or concerning behaviour to police, and I hope the community feel reassured by our results so far that when we do receive information, we will take effective action."
Anyone with information or concerns should contact police online via LiveChat or via 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.
Details can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.