Cuts in police funding impacting on London’s knife crime problem

Last month 11 Londoners lost their lives in just 16 days in what has been a described as a dramatic increase in knife-related crimes.

The latest victim Abdirahman Mohamed, 17, was fatally wounded in Peckham, South London, last Friday and is the eighth teenager to be killed in the capital so far this year.

Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Martin Hewitt, placed some blame on the rise in knife related crime on cuts to police funding.

Speaking to the Guardian in April he said: “It would be a naive answer to say that if you cut a significant amount out of an organisation, you don’t have any consequences.”

Mr Hewitt also spoke of his concern that more and more young people are carrying knives for perceived protection and that children as young as 10 knew someone that carried a knife.

Southwark, the borough within which Peckham sits, has seen a massive increase in knife related crime with a 45.5% rise in offences according to data recently released by the Met.

It shows that in February 2016 to March 2017 there were 840 knife related offences compared to the same period in 2015-16 which had 577 crimes.

Combined with this the area also has one of the worst knife crime conviction rates falling from 18.3% in 2015-16 to just 15.3% in 2016-17.

Former Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman, who is fighting to reclaim her seat tomorrow in the snap general election, expressed concern at the rise and also believed cuts to policing budgets were to blame partly.

Mrs Harman said: “Worryingly, we are seeing a rise in knife crime across London. Under the Tories, the Met has been cut by £600m and has to find further cuts of £400m by 2020.”

She added: “It is little surprise neurontin online no rx that these cuts are starting to impact on our young people’s safety.”

In the running against Mrs Harman is Liberal Democrat candidate Michael Bukola who grew up and still lives in Peckham, he said: “It’s really tragic to say knife crime has gone up.”

Mr Bukola placed emphasis on the fact that across London the rates of stop and search have gone down, he said: “I think there is some correlation between the rise in knife crime and stop and search being reduced in London.”

The Lib Dem candidate also believes there is a range of things that needed to be dealt with surrounding knife crime one being drugs.

“One of the things we need to tackle is drugs much of this issue and knife crime is related to drugs,” he said.

This echoes his party’s manifesto which contains a commitment to legalise cannabis which they think will; ‘Break the grip of the criminal gangs and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis.’

Back in May, The Met launched the next phase in their operation to tackle the problem.

Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher, the head of Operation Sceptre, was himself a victim of knife crime when he was 21.

He said: “I was a victim of knife crime, so I know how it feels, and I know the impact it had on my parents, my immediate family and my friends.”

“We are all passionate about ridding our society of knife crime and sending clear messages, particularly to young people that when they decide to carry a knife all the evidence suggests that statistically, they are more likely to end up a victim themselves.”

This operation carries a positive and powerful message: this is about all of us addressing a problem that often has tragic consequences.”

Gem Sofianos 2 Articles
Gem used to co-run a family business before embarking on a career as a journalist. She takes a keen interest in business and politics.

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