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Mark Duggan inquest: Fighting the Tottenham Man Dem

16:23 08 January 2014

Tottenham Police Station

Tottenham Police Station

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From murders and inter-gang feuds to supplying class A drugs, the Mark Duggan inquest gave a rare insight into the police intelligence on the Tottenham Man Dem, and what they actually knew about one of the most notorious organised criminal gangs in Europe.

Ashley Underwood QC, counsel to the inquest, lifted the lid on the Met Police’s efforts to tackle the TMD while questioning Det Ch Insp Mick Foote, now an acting superintendent but then in charge of Operation Dibri.

The operation, live since November 2008, saw police “conducting a confidential covert proactive operation” in a bid to arrest the most senior members of a gang whose “line of business” involved the supply of class A drugs, firearms, kidnapping, blackmail and GBH.

But when police saw an upsurge in gang tensions in the run up to July 2011, Supt Foote decided to instigate the four-day operation that ended in Mark Duggan’s shooting.

At that point the TMD ranked second on the Met’s Organised Crime Network matrix, making them the second most harmful gang in the capital.

“TMD members and their associates are regularly attending nightclubs and parties in the London area and when doing so have firearms either on their person or nearby with their associates,” his report from July 25, 2011, said.

Specifically, a long-term feud between the TMD and the London Fields Boys in Hackney had reignited after the shooting of a 16-year old boy in a Hackney nightclub by a TMD member. They stood trial but were acquitted.

Since the start of Operation Dibri, the TMD had been linked to nine gun murders, five attempted murders, three gun-related cases of GBH and another GBH.

Reprisal attacks over the same time saw the gang suffer three murders and two attempted murders, while police had recovered numerous firearms, ammunition and large quantities of controlled drugs belonging to the TMD and their associates.

Supt Foote’s report adds: “In order to maintain their control and status they have a propensity to use firearms and extreme violence... They have a history of robbing other drug dealers, as these crimes are very rarely reported.”

Even V53, the officer who shot Mr Duggan, said he had “a healthy respect” for the TMD who are “very good at what they do and at not getting caught,” adding: “We had to be at the top of our game”.

Around 100 suspects were being tracked by Operation Dibri, but a core of 48 “were considered the most violent people” not only in London but in Europe, because of their involvement with importing drugs.

They were “closely linked to Turkish criminal organisations as well”, Supt Foote’s report noted.

In a review of Operation Dibri the day before Mr Duggan was killed, held with the Met’s Intelligence Bureau, it is noted that “some of the top tier are within reach of being arrested for substantive offences”. Mr Duggan was described as one of those “most active” and thus “most likely” to be arrested.

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