Ongoing enforcement work to tackle knife-crime and serious youth violence in the capital was seen first-hand by the Home Secretary Theresa May today. Joined by London Mayor Boris Johnson, the Home Secretary observed police action against knife crime in West Croydon’s bus station. As part of work by Croydon Borough Police to reduce serious violence amongst young people in the town centre, the operation uses plain-clothed and uniformed officers to create a strong presence in the area and search arches to check travellers for hidden weapons.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “The police here in Croydon are doing excellent work to tackle knife crime and violence amongst young people, but it still remains a real and worrying problem in many areas and these communities still live in fear. Any knife-related death is tragic. So far this year we’ve seen 14 young people die in the capital. More needs to be done. The government has already committed to giving local people information about crime in their streets by publishing local crime maps – which will help them hold forces to account. It has also pledged to improve the way in which hospitals share A&E data about where and when violent attacks take place. This will help the police to target their resources where they are needed most.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “I gave a commitment to Londoners to tackle crime in London and make this fantastic city of ours safer. Just over the halfway mark, I believe we have gone a long way towards achieving that. I am not complacent for one minute and know there is a lot more to be done but seeing the success of the operation here today, and across London, I know that with the right focus and resources, we can get a grip on crime and violence. The creation of these teams is a crucial part of the jigsaw for taking back our streets from the mindless criminals that devastate people’s lives, blight neighbourhoods with their antisocial behaviour and make people fearful to travel around our city and neighbourhoods.”
As part of the government’s plan to tackle knife-crime the Home Secretary has asked Brooke Kinsella to visit projects across the country that work to stop young people from getting pulled into a world of violence. Her findings, including details of the types of project she thinks are making the biggest difference, will be presented to the Home Secretary later this year to help shape the Government’s work in tackling knife crime and serious violence among young people.
The Metropolitan Police’s Operation Blunt 2 continues to tackle knife crime in the capital. Provisional information from the Met reports that since 1 April this year, more than 26,000 searches for weapons have been conducted in the capital and a total of 317 knives, 17 guns and 128 other weapons seized. The force also reports that a total of 960 people have been proceeded against for possession of a knife or sharp instrument and a further 1,546 people proceeded against for other knife-related offences.
Commander Maxine De Brunner of the Metropolitian Police said: “Tackling serious youth violence remains our top priority. However the problem cannot be addressed by the police alone and others must play their part in stopping young people from carrying weapons in the first place. Operations are taking place every day across the Met – we are proactively targeting known violent offenders and we continue to stop and search people to detect and deter the carrying of weapons. Over the summer school holidays, a range of enforcement and diversionary activities will take place to help keep young people safe.”
The Metropolitan Police launched Operation Blunt 2 in May 2008 to tackle serious youth violence. This remains a top priority for the Met, with officers carrying out operations day and night to take lethal weapons off London’s streets, arrest offenders and engage with communities to deter young people from carrying weapons in the first place.