100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
Gangsters 'could have hidden a gun in your garden' detectives warn
Merseyside Police say there have been recent cases of guns being stashed in the gardens of completely oblivious residents
Taking 'very dangerous' child gang boss off streets helps 'build trust'
Merseyside Police are celebrating a major success in efforts to reduce gun crime
Two week-long firearms amnesty launched across Greater Manchester to take deadly weapons off the streets and save lives
'Firearms can always come into the wrong hands and by giving a firearm up, you may be saving a life'
'Festive Ape' bought cocaine stolen from Liverpool stash house
Criminal attended meeting near Manchester City's training ground where he bought cocaine
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Firearms amnesty launched to take dangerous weapons off Stirling's streets
People in possession of guns without a valid licence are being asked to surrender them to police in Stirling. The…
People in West Lothian can hand over illegal firearms without fear of prosecution
Officers at Livingston Police Station will also accept replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns and imitation firearms
Get all your news in one place
Latest National news:
Australia election 2022 live: Anthony Albanese promises to ‘bring Australians together’ as Liberals mull inner-city rout
Labor on track to gain a majority in a lower house with an expanded crossbench, but minority government still a…
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Why I love this paw-fectly delightful flower
Kangaroo paws are not scented, nor particularly useful except in the most elegant of floral arrangements, the kind I can't…
Homes of the Hunter: As comfortable as country can get
Jim Kellar visits a property so stunning in its attention to detail that it's inspirational.
Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison have emptied the Liberals’ broad church
The party has been routed in its metropolitan heartland – the moderate wing has been decimated
Western Australia: The state that made Anthony Albanese Australia’s next prime minister
Western Australia turned the tide in tight election to return Labor to power and make Anthony Albanese Australia's next prime…
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
Lake Mac Arts website a 'one-stop-shop' for cultural events
"The diversity of what we have now is excellent, from opera to DJ sets to contemporary dance. A few years…
Scott Morrison’s faithful downcast as second election miracle falls short
Soft aimless jazz replaces news coverage at the Liberal reception in Sydney with bewildered supporters trying to piece together what…

Terrified EncroChat crooks 'fleeing abroad' as force 'only half way through' prosecutions

By Jonathan Humphries

High-level organised criminals have been fleeing the country after being exposed by the EncroChat encrypted phone hack, according to a top detective.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen, head of investigations at Merseyside Police, told the ECHO the infiltration of the network by French and Dutch police was the most "impactive tactic" against organised crime policing has seen. DCS Kameen spoke at the launch of a two-week firearm surrender, which enables anyone with an illegal or unlicensed firearm to hand it over safely without fear of prosecution.

Despite some recent serious shootings, including the wounding of a 15-year-old girl caught in crossfire at a Toxteth bus-stop, Merseyside is experiencing a 20-year low in the number of firearms discharges, with 43 recorded in the last financial year against regular totals of between 80 and 100 within recent years.

READ MORE: Gangsters 'could have hidden a gun in your garden' detectives warn

The ECHO asked DCS Kameen what role the Encrochat investigations had played in gun-crime, and whether there were any signs of violence linked to power-struggles following the removal of high-level gangsters from the streets.

He replied: "We're not getting that sort of vibe from it. Encro has been absolutely phenomenal, and from my point of view has been the single most impactive tactic against serious and organised crime that policing has ever experienced.

"We have taken out lots of serious and organised criminals. You're right, that can create a vaccum, but what we're not seeing for example, is the firearms discharges that you might have seen in the past as a sort of battle went on as to who was going to control a particular area or drugs graft. We're not seeing that at this time.

"I would like to be able to say that is due to some effective local policing in terms of visibility, we're arresting and charging people effectively. I know that some of our Encro criminals have now left the country. So that might be a contributing factor, they're not here to have physical disputes that maybe then triggers firearms discharges.

"They have been using Encro, and seeing what has happened to other criminals and therefore decided its safer just to leave. I have spoken about this at length previously, but we will be relentless around that."

DCS Kameen said the force is still only around half-way through prosecuting the hundreds of offenders identified as involved in serious and organised crime via EncroChat, and said in recent weeks high profile arrests had been made overseas.

He said: "It's so impactive, it's almost go straight to jail effectively because the evidence is so powerful. And this is why I think some criminals have decided it's safer for them to leave the country. But we are continuing to investigate, that won't stop us, we will be waiting for you and we will be working with other law-enforcement agencies across Europe to ensure we track you down."

DCS Kameen said there have been arrests of "significant individuals" linked to EncroChat in Europe within the past fortnight.

During the last national surrender in August 2019, a total of 131 weapons were handed in on Merseyside, including 22 workable firearms, as well as ammunition. A further 14 live guns, nine BB guns, 12 air weapons and a quantity of ammunition were collected last year when Merseyside Police launched a county-wide firearms surrender following changes to antique gun legislation.

DCS Kameen said "one discharge is one too many", but highlighted that despite the recent flurry of incidents the trajectory of firearms discharges for the 2022/23 year was below last years total of 43 - a figure that marked the lowest number of shootings in 21 years. He said: "We're relentless in our pursuit of serious and organised crime. We're enjoying, if that's the right word, lots of success in reducing our numbers of firearms discharges, so 43 this last year.

"On one hand we celebrate that because we had been having 90 to 100 in a year, so there has been some fantastic work there. But, at the same time, I'm really alive to the fact that 43 is still an awful lot and if you are the victim of those discharges or if you live in that street and that community, how terrifying must that be to have somebody or somebody's house shot at where you live.

"This is why it's so important, because if we can get one gun off the street it can make a real difference and what we saw just a couple of months ago with the (15-year-old girl) shooting, when she was an innocent schoolgirl stood in a bus-stop, caught in the crossfire, this is why it's so vitally important that communities work with us."

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
Gangsters 'could have hidden a gun in your garden' detectives warn
Merseyside Police say there have been recent cases of guns being stashed in the gardens of completely oblivious residents
Taking 'very dangerous' child gang boss off streets helps 'build trust'
Merseyside Police are celebrating a major success in efforts to reduce gun crime
Two week-long firearms amnesty launched across Greater Manchester to take deadly weapons off the streets and save lives
'Firearms can always come into the wrong hands and by giving a firearm up, you may be saving a life'
'Festive Ape' bought cocaine stolen from Liverpool stash house
Criminal attended meeting near Manchester City's training ground where he bought cocaine
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Firearms amnesty launched to take dangerous weapons off Stirling's streets
People in possession of guns without a valid licence are being asked to surrender them to police in Stirling. The…
People in West Lothian can hand over illegal firearms without fear of prosecution
Officers at Livingston Police Station will also accept replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns and imitation firearms
Get all your news in one place