Police have vowed to continue to crackdown on gun crime and gang violence in Hackney after successfully jailing four people who were “wreaking havoc” in the community.

Brothers Ryan, Jameal and Ramela Gordon as well as their accomplice Edwin Osei, 26, of Clapton Common, were jailed after dangerous shootings targeting rival gangs – one of which led to an innocent person getting shot on their way to work.

The Gordon brothers held positions of authority in the Hackney-based gang – but it was only after their violent outbreaks that police were able to launch an investigation leading to their arrests.

Det Ch Supt James Conway and Det Sgt Andy Rice spoke with the Hackney Gazette to explain how they were able to finally nab the four violent gang members and their efforts to rid the streets of Hackney from such violence.

‘Three different gangs involved’

Det Ch Supt Conway explained that the force is aware of various gangs operating within Hackney and Tower Hamlets, some gangs being part of criminal groups police have been looking at “for some time”.

But the Gordon brothers went on the Met’s radar after an incident at the Sahara Grill in New Road, Whitechapel, on March 14, 2020.

There was a fight “involving blades and weapons” which “spilled into the public domain”.

East London Advertiser: Left to right: Ryan, Jameal and Ramela GordonLeft to right: Ryan, Jameal and Ramela Gordon (Image: Met Police)

He added: “Although those involved in the fight didn’t come forward to the police, nevertheless that was a public event which had been witnessed and that police became aware of.

“But then it really became a job of both tracking back on the CCTV and building our understanding of what was sitting behind that violence and also some of the events which then subsequently happened in that same day and days following.”

From here they established there was a “revenge attack” that same evening at Hensley Point in Hackney, where an Uzi sub machine gun was fired at a block of flats.

One person passing by on their way to work was injured during the shooting.

It was a combination of investigators from the force as well as the Central East Gangs Unit run by Det Sgt Rice to make the connection between the two incidents.

Later on May 21 that year, there was another shooting in a pedestrian area of Homerton.

East London Advertiser: A car damaged in the May Homerton shootingA car damaged in the May Homerton shooting (Image: Met Police)

Det Ch Supt Conway said: “Although aimed at a different gang, it again shows the complexity of the relationships between some of these gangs. We’ve now got three different gangs involved in various reciprocal attacks on each other.”

He added: “Their attempts to use violence to control a drugs market is obviously wreaking havoc within the communities, creating violence within our communities but also creating significant dangers of exploitation of young people.”

It was only after these violent outbursts that police were able to “pull all the strands together” and carry out a raid at the Stanford Hill estate on May 28, involving 100 officers.

Crack cocaine and heroin of up to £20,000 were hidden away in public lift shafts and the gun used in the Homerton shooting was also found hidden in a shaft.

All four men were arrested and taken into custody.

‘All centred on the Stamford Hill Estate’

Prior to the warrant that was executed, the force understood there was “escalating violence” but was not able to go ahead with the arrests until officers had their hands on the weapons and drugs.

Det Ch Supt Conway said: “We mounted a large scale operation involving local officers, specialist search officers and officers from the Central Trident gangs teams.

“All the intelligence research and reactive investigation of CCTV all point to the fact that we felt both weapons, vehicles and the drugs that were ultimately driving this market were all centred on Stamford Hill Estate.

“And we found they were not, as you might imagine, concealed in private dwellings, but they actually hijacked the community spaces which people used so that they could store weapons and drugs.”

With such criminal material stashed in a public setting, locals in the community were “suffering the brunt of the violence”, Det Ch Supt Conway claimed.

The role of the public

Many of these gang operations in Hackney are taking place without the public’s knowledge, but in cases such as the Gordon brothers violently attacking rivals in public, it meant that people “deeply concerned” were able to come forward and share information.

As a result, officers were reactive to the shootings and were able to rapidly work on their arrests.

However Det Ch Supt Conway explained that police are “working incredibly hard in the background” to investigate and suppress similar incidents.

East London Advertiser: A recovered firearm A recovered firearm (Image: Met Police)

With many eyes on the wider criminal network operating across Hackney and Tower Hamlets over 20 years, police use a suppression technique to prevent them from “taking hold and dominating local spaces”.

Det Ch Supt Conway said: “It is a constant battle to try and maintain suppression and stop these criminal networks gaining stronger footholds in the communities they are already causing great harm within.”

Gun crime in Hackney

According to the Met Police statistics, Hackney has the third most gun offences out of all London boroughs in recent years.

Between April 2023 and January 2024, there were 61 offences recorded. But on a wider scale between January 2019 and January 2024, there were 402 in the borough.

East London Advertiser: Det Ch Supt James ConwayDet Ch Supt James Conway (Image: Met Police)

But the work between Det Sgt Rice’s team and other preventive measures have kept serious violence at levels lower than before the pandemic.

Det Sgt Rice said: “The talk on the street at the moment through the gang members is that in the last couple of years, there's been some serious sentences at the courts.”

He claims that these groups are increasingly “scared” of the gang unit.

“They know if they go out and commit criminality or violence, they’re going to get a serious sentence.”

However Det Ch Supt Conway added that it is never a problem that police can “purely arrest our way out of” and said that by reforming the way the proactive detective units operate, the integrated police teams are able to improve their way in preventing violence.