It’s easy to term any organisation with a centralised structure and command system a type of mafia setup. The bosses are at the top, the lieutenants or various other ranking officers are below and the foot soldiers are at the bottom of the ladder. Some such organisations jsut do not lend themselves well to the term ‘mafia’ though and this tends to be the way with British organised crime.
The first such group we’re going to discuss is the Arif family. They have been called Britain’s
number one crime family but his dubious distinction is an easy label to place on any London based outfit. They are Turkish-Cypriot in origin have been operating in South-East London since the 1960′s. After the demise of the Kray brothers (of whom more in another post), several criminal enterprises attempted to move into the vacuum left behind. The Clerkenwell Crime Syndicate, the Brindle family and the Arifs all fancied a piece of the pie. In fact they fancied the whole pie eventually which, in the 1990′s led to a violent gang war between the Arif’s and the Brindles. The Arifs are known to be, or to have been involved in racketeering, drug smuggling, armed robbery and murders. The gang is led by brothers Dennis, Mehmet and Dogan Arif but more brothers are involved in the various operations.
As with many organised crime gangs, the nature of their operations means it’s often difficult to determine the extent of their current influence and activity. What we do know is that during the early 1990′s and while they were waging a turf war with the Brindles, the police had mounted a huge operation against them leading to the conviction and imprisonment of most of the leadership, including various family members.
Despite this however, they still maintain a name as one of the most feared London families meaning that their acts of criminality have not decreased noticeably. Some sources believe that the organisation is run from prison , largely by Dogan Arif and they are known to maintain drug-related ties with Turkey.