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A senior police officer has vowed to stop the current wave of gun crime across Birmingham and warned offenders they can expect to feel the full weight of the law.
Assistant Chief Constable Carl Foulkes says the force will stand firm against armed criminals following a sudden surge in firearms offences.
His message comes on the day three violent members of the same family are served gang injunctions after being linked to dozens of violent clashes and gun related crime.
Daman Bishton (20) Darryl Bishton (24) and 18-year-old Robert Bishton – all of Guild Close in Ladywood – and 21-year-old Simieon Watson from Acorn Grove, Ladywood, are all subject to the two-year order.
The injunctions run until January 2018 and ban all four from the wider Ladywood area including Edgbaston reservoir and Hagley Road – except to enter their home addresses – and from hanging around together anywhere in Birmingham.
(Robert Bishton (top left); Darryl Bishton (top right); Daman Bishton (bottom left); Simieon Watson (bottom right))
And two men and a male youth – arrested by police in Aston on Wednesday night when officers recovered two loaded sawn-off shotguns from a car – were last night charged with firearms offences.
Rowan Youngsam (20) from Wellington Court, Handsworth Wood, Jayden Lemathy (23) from Holt Road in Aston, and a 16-year-old student from Handsworth have all been charged with two counts of possessing a shortened shotgun and possessing cocaine.
The teenager faces another count of possessing a knife in public; all three are set to appear later today (Jan 8) at Birmingham Magistrates Court.
Detectives are also considering further charges of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence plus car theft; the trio have been bailed on those matters while enquiries continue.
ACC Foulkes is co-ordinating West Midlands Police’s response to the recent shootings and says these latest developments highlight the force’s on-going commitment to tackle gun and gang crime.
He said: “These injunctions are a fantastic example of the creative tactics at our disposal to tackle gun crime and illustrate what can be achieved when we work with our partner agencies. Our officers will be monitoring these injunctions – and if any breaches of the conditions come to light we will step in to make arrests and haul them back before the courts.
“The Bishton family have been linked to numerous firearms incidents and are happy to be involved in the carrying of guns. This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we will stand firm against armed criminals. My message to those who carry weapons is that this stops now…we will find you and we will deal with you robustly.
“We’ve got officers and staff working around the clock to close-in on those gangs who bring fear to our communities…and the charges we secured only last night are testament to this. We are redoubling our efforts to disrupt those networks, take their weapons away and ultimately get them punished for the criminal activities they think they can carry out with impunity."
In November, one of the city’s most prolific gun dealers – Nosa Stephenson – was jailed for 16-and-a-half years for supplying weapons, with his 18 accomplices also handed hefty prison sentences.
In the last three months in excess of 60 people have been arrested for firearms related offences and at least 23 weapons have been seized from the hands of offenders who are not afraid to use them.
ACC Foulkes added: “Whilst this spike is a real concern it’s important it is seen in the context of dramatically falling levels of gun crime across the city over the last decade. It is a fact that the number of firearms related incidents last year is less than half the number it was during the same period 10 years ago.
“It is also important to understand this is not an issue that is exclusive to any particular part of Birmingham. It is true that some neighbourhoods have seen a disproportionate number of firearms incidents in recent weeks and months, but this must be tackled collectively with a citywide approach.
“But despite these success stories, we understand why law-abiding citizens are still worried. Two men have died since October as a result of gunshot wounds - Derek Junior Myers in Hockley and Connor Smith in Hawkesley. These are two victims too many.
“There must be no let-up in our approach to tackle firearms if we are to prevent anyone else from losing their life and if we are to reassure the people of Birmingham.
“In the long-term we need to build on the on-going deterrent work, alongside other agencies, charities and the community, which is a crucial part of our long-term plan to tackle gun crime.
“The public are our eyes and ears and I want to appeal directly to the communities of Birmingham - please, contact us with any information you have about gun and gang crime in our city. Together we can and will get through this difficult period and take these guns off our streets."
Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, David Jamieson, said: “I welcome this firm action and determination not to go backwards on this important issue. Tackling violent crime and urban street gangs is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan.
“The recent spike in gun crime in Birmingham follows a sustained period during which gun crime fell significantly. I am determined that we don’t go back to where we were a decade ago. I will be working with the community and partner agencies to bring people together to tackle gun crime.”
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