Street drug gang stopped by successful injunctions
Nine injunctions have been secured against gang members in Alum Rock and Bordesley Green after a divided gang’s fighting sparked a campaign of violence in East Birmingham.
Interim Gang Injunctions had already been secured in December 2012, a move that saw levels of offending fall in the affected communities. The interim injunctions were sought following the serious inter-gang conflict which had erupted and resulted in damage to property and fights breaking out. The conflict continued and, as the ill-feeling deepened, it escalated to include arson, severe assaults, kidnappings, shootings and stabbings, all playing out on local streets in full view of and with complete disregard for the public.
The inter-gang related violence and drug dealing had been systemic for some time, with the local community living in constant fear of harassment and intimidation from individuals acting as part of this organised crime group. However, months of further evidence gathering by officers working side-by-side with the local community has now successfully secured full Gang Injunctions and Housing Act Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions (ASBIs) against key gang members:
Israr Rafiq (24) and Sajad Rafiq (33) both formerly of Finnemore Road; Mohammed Adeel Nazir (20) of Botha Road; Shajeel Altaf (26) of Norton Crescent; Mehtab Asghar (26) of Cotterills Lane; and Khurram Shabir (21) of Finnemore Road, were all issued with two-year Gang Injunctions at Birmingham Crown Court (February 13).Abdul Rafiq (25) formerly of Finnemore Road; Asif Ali (27) of Yardley Green Road were issued with two-year Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions and Zaffir Iqbal (23) of William Cook Road, was issued with a 12-month Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction.
Yasser Ali (30) of Yardley Green Road was found to have been a member of the gang and involved in gang related violence and anti-social behaviour, but an order was not deemed necessary on this occasion.
In total the gang received 17 years in Gang Injunctions and Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions. For the Orders issued, by the Court, some of the defendants are excluded from areas of Bordesley Green and some are not to associate with other defendants.
There are terms included in the Orders designed to prevent drug dealing and nuisance and annoyance caused to residents in Bordesley Green and terms to prevent the use or threat of violence and possession of weapons. The purpose of these terms is to prevent gang related violence and anti-social behaviour by the defendants in the Bordesley Green area.
Chief Superintendent Alex Murray of West Midlands Police commented: “People intent on harming others to make money, wrecking communities and targeting the vulnerable need to know there is no way the police, the community or Birmingham Community Safety Partnership will allow it.
“In this case it took good people from the community to stand up and say ‘we will no longer tolerate this’. I would encourage all other residents of Birmingham to think what they can do and say to combat this type of violence. The police and the Community Safety Partnership will take your compliant seriously and deal with information sensitively.
“In this case all public services worked together to stop this group in their tracks. It is remarkable the effect the Gang Injunctions have had, with violence from this group practically stopping overnight. Some of these men have already been convicted of criminal offences, but these landmark Gang Injunctions allow us to robustly manage their behaviour and protect the public. They have all been banned from associating with each other, so effectively disbanding the gang.”
Trial Judge, His Honour Judge Worster, commended the residents who came forward and gave evidence in his judgement, saying: “Resident A came to court and gave evidence behind a screen. He gave his evidence with great dignity. He knew none of the defendants and had not specifically heard of the UTS. His evidence went to the problems that drugs and gangs caused in his neighbourhood. This evidence chimed with other direct and hearsay evidence heard during the trial. The opportunity to see Resident A give evidence a few feet away left me in no doubt that this was a man whose evidence I could accept without reservation.”
Since December 2012 officers from, Birmingham City Council Housing Service and West Midlands Police have worked together to gather evidence in support of the full injunctions. This work is managed by the Community Safety Partnership’s Tackling Families Undermining Neighbourhoods group (TFUN), which has also achieved successful gang injunctions during 2011 in the south of the city and more recently against a family in the Lea Hall area in 2013, in unrelated cases.
The Community Safety Partnership will now start a local awareness raising campaign using leaflets and posters and Birmingham City Council and Police officers will inform local residents about what action has been taken and how to report any breaches of the Court Injunctions.