Gang members will have nowhere to hide as Croydon's new taskforce unveiled a series of tactics to make the streets safer.

As part of a new Metropolitan Police-wide gang initiative, Croydon will see more operations as well as intervention to stop those at risk of joining these groups.

Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe launched the new Trident Gang Crime Command unit last Wednesday (February 8).

In the three days that followed, Croydon saw 17 search warrants and 28 arrests and Detective Superintendent Simon Messinger, who is heading up the local gang team, said more was to follow.

He said: “We will run tactics on a regular basis.

“We want to make life suitably difficult for those who want to go out and commit crime.”

Det Supt Messinger detailed how the new unit, which consists of both uniform and CID, would carry out both proactive and reactive operations.

These include armed roadblocks using automated number plate recognition technology.

If a car is flagged up then the police have the resources in place if firearms or weaponry is believed to be in the car.

As well as tackling offenders, the new unit will look to dissuade those at risk of joining gangs taking up a life of crime.

It has formed partnerships with the council and other organisations in a bid to provide a joined up approach to identifying and helping at risk teens.

One organisation highlighted was LEAP, a charity which looks to help the jobless and disaffected.

Det Supt Messinger said LEAP was keen on local mentors who would provide longevity.

He said: “These partnerships will work with people who are thinking about gang life and ask them if that is what they really want to do and give them the opportunity to get out and help others.”

Previously in charge of public protection at Greenwich, Det Supt Messinger insisted there was only a “small handful” of gangs in Croydon and that it was not an endemic issue.

He said the community could play its part, as it can provide the intelligence to help identify possible gang members.

And it was not just black young men involved, but something that affected everybody.