Met Police Arrest Suspected Arsonist As Part Of Global Organised Crime Sting
Police in London have arrested a 29-year-old man on suspicion of committing arson for payment as part of a large international sting on organised crime groups. The early morning raid was captured on the officers' body cameras:
In the early hours of 30 July, armed police officers from the Metropolitan Police's Specialist Firearms Command carried out a search warrant on a property in North West London using a technique called a 'dig out'.
This technique relies on surrounding and calling out a suspect in order to minimise the risk to the public and the officers, and is used particularly when a suspect is dangerous and could be in possession of weapons.
The man was arrested on three counts of arson, including one with attempt to endanger life.
The operation is part of a wider effort called Operation Eternal, and is the most significant operation that the Met has ever launched against serious and organised crime.
It is part of a global effort that also involved the National Crime Agency and every police force in the UK to crack down on organised crime.
Detective Sergeant John Cowell, one of the investigating officers, said: "The investigations being carried out under Operation Eternal, including this one, are focused on some of the most serious, high harm criminality across London.
"This particular case focuses on a linked series of arsons across the capital, which could have killed or seriously injured many people.
"The suspect in this case is alleged to have paid individuals to burn down houses and set fire to vehicles on behalf of other alleged criminal associates.
"Our top priority is tackling violence on the streets of London, and we will continue to target those involved in the most serious offences which cause unimaginable harm and blight our communities.
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"This is just one of many investigations which will continue at pace over the coming months. We will not stop until we have seen these cases through the courts and brought those behind these crimes to justice."
So far, the operation has seen police seize more than £13 million in cash, and has focused on messages sent between suspected criminals over an encrypted messaging system called Encrochat.
An international effort has now accessed and dismantled the service, which had 1,400 known users in London alone.
As well as the money - of which £5m was seized at once, the largest single cash seizure in Met Police history - they've also taken sub-machine guns, 500 rounds of ammunition, and 620kgs of Class-A drugs off the streets.
Further arrests and seizures will be made over the coming months.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: "This operation is the most significant activity, certainly in my career, we have ever carried out against serious and organised criminality across London.
"Organised crime groups have used encrypted communications to enable their offending. They have openly discussed plots to murder, launder money, deal drugs and sell firearms capable of causing atrocious scenes in our communities. They were brazen and thought they were beyond the reach of the law."
"Organised crime does not respect geographical boundaries. Those responsible for it adapt quickly and take advantage of every opportunity. This operation has enabled us to target those at the top of the hierarchy and individuals we have known about for years but have not been able to tackle head on.
"This offending has a direct impact on our communities - those involved appear to have an air of respectability, but their actions leave a trail of misery and are inextricably linked to the violent scenes we see play out on our streets. Our investigators, intelligence analysts, firearms officers, Territorial Support Group and our local officers have worked day and night over the past two months to progress our investigations as part of this operation.
"Through this work with our international partners, we have significantly developed our understanding of organised criminality in London and the ways in which some of our most prolific and dangerous offenders operate. This is just the beginning, there are many more people we are investigating. We know who they are and we have seen what they are doing and who they are doing it with. We will not rest until they have seen justice."
Featured Image Credit: Metropolitan Police