Knife crime in London has reduced by as much as a third during August over pre-pandemic levels after the Met increased pro-active patrols in areas with high levels of knife-enabled crime, Scotland Yard confirmed on Wednesday.
Thanks to Violent Crime Taskforces and specialist public order units such as the Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) increasing their use of stop and search, a total of 427 knives were seized during the summer.
Officers also seized over 230 other weapons as officers used local intelligence and pro-active patrols to hone in on the capitals most violent and prolific offenders.
As well as nearly 700 weapons being taken off the streets, officers made about 2,000 drug seizures from individuals who were stopped and searched in high-crime areas.
Forty people were detained by officers who used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology in both static and mobile assets.
So far, in 2021, 23 teenagers have lost their lives on the streets of London.
Although the number of blade injuries suffered by under-25s dropped by almost 40%.
At the start of the summer period, there was also an upsurge in activity to tackle firearms offences.
There were 45 arrests, eight firearms recovered, 55 rounds of ammunition found, and multiple kilos of class A and B drugs discovered during that operation.
Many officers were seconded from other roles to meet the numbers required to execute the operation effectively.
In a concerted effort to prevent violence and build on relationships with communities and young Londoners, the Met also hosted various summer camps during the school holiday.
One in Lambeth was attended by 150 local children aged nine to 16.
Officers and volunteers staffed the camp, plus a visit from Commissioner Cressida Dick, who, a spokesperson for the Met Police said, provided ‘fun and engaging sessions with life skills lessons’.
Officers also worked with their respective stakeholders to relaunch the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign to ensure anyone who feels unsafe during a night out can access assistance.
So far, more than 600 frontline staff from more than 400 London venues have been trained to provide support.
Additionally, the Met created the ‘Walk and Talk’ initiative, allowing women and girls to express their safety concerns while being out and about with 25 female police officers.
Commander Alex Murray, lead for violence in London, said:
“The reductions are compared to crime levels before the pandemic, showing real progress has been made over this time. These are tremendous efforts by officers who are dedicated to creating safer communities. Londoners can be reassured this work will continue.
“The work we are all doing plus the legacy effects of Covid-19 are also likely contributors to the declines.
“Policing alone is not enough and given the complex nature of violence, the responsibility falls across society. The reductions are also thanks to partners, volunteers and community workers who all work to make London safer. The results are encouraging and we will continue to work together to tackle violence.
“To everyone who has made a call to police or Crimestoppers with information on violent crime, you too have made a difference in your community.
“Although these reductions are positive, we cannot and will not be complacent in the fight to tackle violence in all its forms.
“We encourage the public to call the independent charity Crimestoppers, 100 per cent anonymously, with any information they may have about violence or knife crime in their area. Any information, no matter how small, could save a life.”
Yet again, we see how effective stop-and-search is against the fight against knife-enabled crime.
There are not many tactics that can compare with officers physically removing knives from those willing to carry them.
But we have to remember that this operation was only possible thanks to officers being seconded from other vital units and teams.
Some uniformed officers carrying out extra shifts and patrols had to be taken from other essential roles.
This will mean that those officers’ workload would have increased when they were deployed elsewhere.
What we really need – to prevent another surge in knife enabled crime – is for the headcount of personnel who took part in the operation to stay the same.
As the operation ends, officers will now be going back to their usual units and teams.
The job of maintaining their hard work will fall to the violent crime task force and specialist departments like the TSG, who have been working tirelessly to try and reduce the number of teenagers who have been murdered on the streets of London.
But this proactive summer campaign has once again proven what most people already know to be true; that stop and search does work.
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