Tower Hamlets , Newham and Hackney are the focus of a major new Met Police operation to confront gun crime.

The police, have brought together a team of specialists to tackle the scourge, beginning in the boroughs where gunshots are most common and where they are on the rise.

Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the number of gun discharges in London had spiked – 122 this year – and has brought together 50 officers to go on the offensive.

Operation Viper will be led by the Trident and Gang Crime Command and include detectives from the Serious and Organised Crime Command (SCO7), uniformed officers from borough, and the Task Force, including the Territorial Support Group and the Dogs Unit.

A gun seized by the Met Police

The Force Firearms Unit (SCO19) will dedicate a team from the Armed Response Unit to support the work.

Armed response vehicles will deploy in the east London boroughs alongside local officers for a rapid response to incidents. Other priority boroughs are Lambeth, Southwark and Brent.

Police activity will include high-visibility armed patrols, automatic number plate recognition operations, weapon sweeps, and intelligence-led stop and search.

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Officers will be targeting known firearms offenders, making arrests and executing search warrants. Viper teams will work alongside borough colleagues to assist in educating young people about the dangers of carrying firearms.

The number of shots in 2015 was 226 although this represents a drop from the 377 discharges five years ago.

The muzzle of a gun seized by police

Last year, the Met took 714 firearms off the streets, the highest number ever, and Operation Viper looks to increase that figure.

Commander Duncan Ball, in charge of Gangs and Organised Crime, said it was vital that police respond quickly to trends in criminal behaviour.

He said: “We are nowhere near the levels of five years ago but it is our job to keep it that way. We are seeing that at least half of these shootings are related to drugs and we will work closely with colleagues across the Met on that.

“We will have [armed response vehicles] dedicated to this operation and we will keep reviewing how we respond across the capital. Viper gives us renewed energy in our fight to take guns off the street.”

A selection of guns seized by Met Police

Sir Bernard said: “Firearm use is thankfully still rare in London and rarely affects those not involved in crime - but I am very concerned about the recent increase and we are determined to stop it.

“Our officers will use all their powers to take on the gunmen and those that supply them. If you know of someone who has access to a gun or supplies others with a gun - please tell us either where the guns are or who has them.”

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The Metropolitan Police Service is offering a sum of up to £2,000 as a reward for information that leads to the recovery of firearms, together with the arrest and prosecution of those in criminal possession of them.

Anyone who has any information about people that carry or use firearms can call 020 7230 8401, or in the event of an emergency 999.