Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Police 'Put Gang Youths in Danger' MET IS ACCUSED OF DROPPING OFF SUSPECTS IN THEIR RIVALS' TERRITORY; 'It'd Be Irresponsible This Isn't the Wire'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Police 'Put Gang Youths in Danger' MET IS ACCUSED OF DROPPING OFF SUSPECTS IN THEIR RIVALS' TERRITORY; 'It'd Be Irresponsible This Isn't the Wire'

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Bentham Home Affairs Editor exclusive

MET officers are facing allegations that they are deliberately putting gang members in danger by dropping them off in their rivals' territory after questioning, the police watchdog said today.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it had been told of "several occasions" when young people detained over suspected gang activity had been taken and released in an area that was known to be the "domain" of another group.

It said it was appealing for other young Londoners who might have experienced such treatment to submit complaints for it to investigate.

The "serious allegations" emerged in a submission to an inquiry by the Commons home affairs committee into gangs and youth crime. Committee chairman Keith Vaz said the claims were deeply disturbing and suggested Met officers were behaving in an "irresponsible" manner more suited to a TV crime drama than real life.

"I am astonished," he added. "It is right that our law enforcement agencies take every step to bring to justice those who are involved in gang crime, but it would be totally irresponsible to deliberately place anyone in a position where they could be vulnerable to an attack.

"This is not a scene from The Wire and these actions may have serious implications which could affect people's lives. We will want to examine these accusations when taking evidence from police as our inquiry progresses." Scotland Yard said such conduct was "unacceptable" but it had not received any complaints about the alleged practice for it to investigate.

The IPCC submission states: "A number of stakeholders have told us on several occasions about young people who have been stopped or detained by police and accused of being a gang member before being transported in a police vehicle, and then dropped off (in their view, deliberately) in neighbouring housing estates or different parts of the city that are recognised as being the domain of rival gangs, thereby placing them at significant risk of being seriously hurt. …

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