Merseyside Police use war zone strategy to fight gang crime

Video report by Tim Scott.

Strategies used by the American military against insurgents in Iraq, are being copied by Merseyside police in their fight against gun and gang crime.

The plan is called Clear, Hold, Build. It involves clearing areas of the county of the criminals who run drug and weapons operations. The cleared area is then held so that criminality doesn't return and police build relations in a community, making it better able to deter the gangs coming back.

Merseyside police on the clearing stage of the strategy that started in Iraq Credit: ITV News

Today's operation took place just a few hundred yards away from where 9 year old Olivia Pratt Korbel was shot and killed last year. Thomas Cashman has been charged with her murder and will go on trial in March.

In the immediate aftermath of Olivia's death there were over 400 hundred arrests and 11 seizures of firearms as police cracked down on organised crime groups.

They also increased their patrols and visibility around Dovecot and Huyton and other parts of Knowsley.

Olivia Pratt Korbel was shot dead in August 2022 at her home in Dovecot Credit: Family handout

The National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Serious and Organised Crime, Chief Constable Steve Jupp said, "This approach will see police forces and Regional Organised Crime Units work more closely with local partners to build resilience in communities and prevent those at risk from being drawn into crime".