|London Wide Crackdown on Knife Crime|
Weapons sweeps will take place throughout the Capital
Police in London will be stepping up activity to tackle knife crime, to coincide with the introduction of new sentencing guidelines for those who carry the weapons.
Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Haydon, the Head of Trident Gang Crime Command said: “Tackling knife crime is a key priority for the Met. Every week, officers from across London carry out enforcement activity, and educational programmes aimed at prevention are regularly delivered to young people.
“The people of London can expect to see lots of coordinated and intelligence-led police activity over the coming week. We will be carrying out a variety of operations including weapon sweeps and stop and search; as well as targeting known offenders.”
Weapon sweeps will be taking place where intelligence suggests that offenders are hiding knives in public areas to avoid being caught in possession of a knife.
Local Safer Neighbourhood Teams, specialist officers from the Territorial Support Group, and Trident Gang Crime Command will be visible conducting high visibility patrols on estates and in places where people are believed to be carrying knives.
Officers from Roads Policing Traffic Command will be visible in transport hubs using knife wands to catch and deter those carrying knives on public transport.
ANPR operations will be carried out in hotspot areas for knife crime, to capture people involved in knife crime who have access to motor vehicles.
Trident officers who deal with gang crime will also be supporting the activity across London to maximise all opportunities to gather evidence and detect violent crimes and offenders.
Officers will be visiting the homes of individuals who have previously been arrested for possession of a knife. They will be reminded that we know who they are and given a letter warning them that they could face a prison sentence if they carry a knife.
The types of knives being seized by officers on the streets of London are broad and varied, ranging from hunting knives and flick knives to those you would expect to find in the kitchen of any home.
As part of the Met’s prevention strategy we are looking at the supply of knives to young people. During the week officers will be working with Trading Standards enforcement and young people from the Met Police Cadets to identify retail stores that are selling knives to anyone under the age of 18.
Knives are being ordered over the internet through retailers in the UK and overseas so we are looking at where they are coming from and where they are going to, which a view to preventing them being used in knife crime. We are working closely with UK Border forces to trace and target larger consignments of knives.
Prevention is essential to the success of reducing knife crime and the Met is working with Words 4 Weapons - a charity that has 30 knife surrender bins located at various sites across London. A map showing the location of the bins is available on our website at www.met.police.uk/stopknifecrimenow.
Yvonne Lawson had her 17 year old son, Godwin Lawson, tragically taken from her when he was fatally stabbed on the streets of Hackney in 2010 and she has been campaigning about the dangers of knife crime ever since.
Yvonne said: “I still miss Godwin every day. The pain is enormous. It is particularly raw every Christmas and birthday that passes, knowing my wonderful talented son is not here to share these moments with us and I will never be able to see him grow up. I would give anything to have him back with us.
“What I would say to anyone who carries a knife, or is thinking about carrying a knife is what if it was your brother, your sister, your cousin or uncle that was laying there in a coffin? How would you feel then? Think about the consequences and don’t pick up that knife.”
Dean Haydon continued, “It is a tragic fact that most of the people killed or injured as a result of knife crime in London are under the age of eighteen. That is why it is so important to reach out to young people and try to educate them to make them realise the very real consequences of carrying knives. Carrying a knife leads to using a knife and there is every chance that the knife you may use could actually be used on you.
“Each year the Met’s educational programme is delivered to thousands of young people, aimed at discouraging them from getting involved in gangs and knife crime.
“Your local area should be a safe place to live and raise your family and knives have no place on our streets. Together we can stop knife crime and keep our communities safe.”
We will be tweeting out results throughout the week using #StopKnifeCrime. Please follow us on @metpoliceuk for updates.