The Metropolitan Police Service is making an urgent call on London’s communities to help us stop violence taking more young lives this summer.
Serious violence offences have declined by 22% over the past year and overall the murder rate is down. However, we have seen an increase in the murder of teenagers, with 17 being murdered so far this year. If London continues to see this rate of violence we will be on track to see the worst year for young homicides since 2008.
Every single murder is a tragedy, but they are not spread evenly either geographically or by age and ethnicity. Of these young victims, more than two thirds (12) are black and 15 were killed with a knife. We are extremely concerned about this and are calling on every Londoner to play their part to prevent further needless killings.
We have a large scale, multi layered operation over the summer to suppress violence as much as we can. The public can expect to see more officers on the streets and more police patrolling open spaces, parks, bars and clubs.
In addition to getting justice for victims, some of the proactive work includes:
- Summer Nights- Each of the 12 basic command units across London will produce bespoke plans to address local issues where officers will work to prevent violence and to encourage communities to take action.
- Focused robbery operations across hotspot areas will use motorcycles to respond to incidents and target offenders using e-scooters and mopeds to cause violence.
- Surge activity is overt policing visibility, reassurance and engagement in areas known for serious violence and gang activity. These teams consist of the Violence Crime Taskforce, Dogs Support Unit, Territorial Support Group and Roads and Transport Policing Command.
- Operation Pandilla is our Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) work with partners across the south east region to disrupt county lines and violence.
- Operation Gallion – Intelligence led patrols at a local level with the aim to prevent gun crime discharges.
- The introduction of the Knife Crime Prevention Orderspilot is intended to be preventative rather than punitive and will enable the police and partner agencies to intervene and prevent knife enabled violence.
- At the same time we are working in schools and with the violence reduction unit to prevent crime
Whilst the police can bring offenders to justice, and in 13 of the teenage murder investigations we have charged individuals, we can also engage in preventative work like taking drugs, money, guns and knives off the street. But that alone is not enough. There are great examples of communities and agencies coming together to tackle violence and we need to build on that collective effort.
Commander Alex Murray, lead for violence said: “Through lockdown there has been an incredible amount of work to take the wind out of the sails of people who drive violence. More than 400 guns have been recovered, thousands of knives and large quantities of drugs have been seized. A record £47 million in cash has been confiscated and high harm offenders have been taken off the streets.
“But detectives investigating serious violence often meet silence from people we know have information that could help prevent violence. We have seen it recently in the tragic shooting of Sasha Johnson that took place last month.”
We understand that some people may not trust police so we are working hard to build those relationships and show that we are only motivated by preventing violence. It is our number one priority.
We urge everyone to listen to five brave mothers who have lost their sons to knife crime.
Earlier this year they told the world how they had to make the hardest call when their son was murdered. They recognise that coming forward can be hard but ask us all to compare that to the call they had to make. If you have information about knives, guns or violence call the independent and anonymous charity Crimestoppers. This is not snitching, this is about justice and about saving lives or preventing people ending up serving life in prison for murder.
Yvonne Lawson MBE, said: “We may of had a brief respite from knife crime over the lockdown period but recent activity since easing restrictions has been distressing indeed.
“It has been 11 years since I sadly lost Godwin to knife crime as he tried to stop a fight between friends. Eleven years on, mothers are still loosing their babies to knife crime in our capital. We should never get desensitised or complacent to youth violence. My dream 11 years ago was to prevent another mother from reliving my pain!
“We need to all come together and fight this epidemic as we are fighting Covid-19. The police alone don’t have the cure, we urgently all need to work together, report what you know about violence and free young people from this terrible cycle.”
Pastor Lorraine Jones, said: “As a mother who has lost her son through the senseless killings caused by youth violence, I plead with all communities, families, local authorities, social services, schools and faith groups to step up and engage more with our troubled youth before it results in violence.
“The police cannot solve this problem alone. The next child could be yours or someone you know. The wall of silence can only be broken by us.
“If it was not for the support of the police I would truly be lost and so many other parents who have lost their children feel the same. Let us all step up and work together as a matter of urgency.”
Commander Alex Murray, added: “We are devoting huge resources into doing everything within our power to minimise violence – It is our priority and can affect anyone from any background.
“But we simply cannot do this alone: Everyone has a role to play. Community leaders, businesses, politicians, youth workers, parents and teachers – quite literally anybody and everybody. If you have networks that can help, please use them to get the message from these mothers across.”