'Gang members' banned from Wolverhampton city centre after spate of shootings
Six men have been slapped with injunctions in a police crackdown on gang violence.
Police said their hand had been forced by a series of alleged shootings in Wolverhampton, which led them to press for the banning orders.
Officers will use the injunctions to keep tabs on the ‘movements and associations’ of the gang members, who are aged between 18 and 20.
The injunctions will run for a year and mean the six men are forbidden from communicating with each other.
They also prevent the group from entering parts of Whitmore Reans, Pendeford, Heath Town and the city centre.
The men served with the injunctions at Birmingham County Court are: Romayne Brown, aged 18, Kieron Thomas, 19, and Iko Anderson, 19, all from Whitmore Reans; as well as Connor Chambers, 20, from Oxley, Tevin Thomas, 20, from Aldersley and Nya Graham-Shea,19, from Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent.
Police said the men are believed to be part of an organised gang.
The injunctions – which are one of the first of their kind to be issued in the Black Country – have been imposed in a bid to reduce gang violence and reassure residents, police said.
If the group break any of the conditions, they could be arrested, or face jail.
Police pushed for the injunctions in the wake of shootings and a reported stabbing in the city between December 2016 and March this year they fear are gang-related.
Superintendent Keith Fraser, local policing lead for Wolverhampton, said: “Between December 2016 and March 2017 officers have dealt with several reports of shots fired and a stabbing in the Wolverhampton area.
“We felt we had to take action to prevent this criminality and to safeguard the public, and following a drive-by shooting, which took place at an address on Glentworth Gardens in March, we decided to press for these injunctions straight away.
“We have listened to the concerns of the residents in the area and we want to reassure them that our priority is to protect the community.
“These injunctions are powers used by the police to reduce gang-related violence and serious harm to young people and local communities.”
Supt Fraser said police had worked with other groups to help the men ‘exit the gang lifestyle’.
He added: “They are not sought lightly and the police together with the local council and other voluntary groups and charities will have already made exhaustive efforts with the individuals and their families to try and steer them away from a gang lifestyle.”
“We will remain open and willing to work with these young men should they wish to exit a gang lifestyle.”
Karen Samuels, Wolverhampton council’s head of community safety, added: “We have been working closely with our partners to deliver targeted interventions identifying young people at risk and diverting them away from gang involvement at a much earlier point.
“This has included the rapid deployment of community mediators in response to escalating tensions.”
Lisa-Marie Smith, director of West Midlands Police Legal Services, said: “The Joint Legal Services Department through the specialist lawyers in its Operational Team is committed to working hand in hand with officers to use gang injunctions and other civil interventions for protection of the public.”
Anyone who sees the group together or in any of the areas they are banned from is urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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