The Trident Gang Crime Command is being launched as part of a crackdown by the Metropolitan Police.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said hundreds of officers will execute up to 300 raids across the capital to track down and arrest suspected gangsters allegedly involved in assault, robbery and drugs supply.

“The bottom line is, if they’re offending, then we’ve got to arrest them,” he added.

Police estimate there are an estimated 250 active criminal gangs in London, featuring about 4800 people mostly aged between 18 and 24.

Of these gangs, 62 are considered “high harm” and commit two-thirds of all gang-related crime.

The Met said gangs, which range from organised criminal networks involved in Class A drugs supply and firearms to street-based gangs involved in violence and personal robbery, were responsible for approximately 22 per cent of serious violence, 17 per cent of robbery, 50 per cent of shootings and 14 per cent of rape in London.

Trident will continue to monitor gang activity across London and is understood the unit will be the largest of its kind in the country.

It will include officers working for Operation Trident, which investigates gun crime in the black community.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said it was the most significant operational decision made by Mr Hogan-Howe since he became Met commissioner five months ago.