Knife crime: London 'on track' for worst year of teenage killings, Met warns

17 June 2021, 17:55

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (left) along with Director of Operations at Crimestoppers Mick Duthie (right) are joined by mothers whose sons were the victims of fatal knife crime
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (left) along with Director of Operations at Crimestoppers Mick Duthie (right) are joined by mothers whose sons were the victims of fatal knife crime. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

London is "on track" for its worst year of teenage killings in more than a decade if current trends in violence continue, the Met has warned.

A total of 17 teenagers have been killed in the capital this year, with 15 having been killed with a knife.

Gun and knife crime could lead to the highest amount of deaths among young people in London since 2008, when 28 were killed, the force warned. In 2020, 14 young people were killed.

The warning has come despite serious violent offences falling by 22% and the overall murder rate being lower than last year, according to the Met.

Recent tragedies include Taylor Cox, who was shot in the head in Islington on June 8, and Denardo Samuels-Brooks, 17, who was stabbed to death in Streatham two days later.

Read more: 'Naive' Met police anti-violence scheme falls flat with tiny uptake

Read more: Mothers relive the heartbreak of losing their sons for police knife crime campaign

In all 17 cases, 13 have resulted in a suspect being charged. More than two-thirds of victims were black, the Met said.

Commander Alex Murray, lead for violence, said: "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."

While the Met "understands that some people may not trust police", it is working to "build those relationships" and show stopping violence is its "number one priority".

He added that the community as a whole as a role to play, as well as the police.

LBC has found that a diversionary scheme designed to turn violent offenders away from crime saw just 6% express any interest in signing up.

The Met intends to boost the number of officers patrolling streets and open spaces this summer, and putting in place "surge activity" in places known for serious violence and gang issues.

Patrick Green, CEO of London knife crime charity The Ben Kinsella Trust, set up in honour of the 16-year-old boy who was killed on his way home from celebrating the end of his GCSEs in 2008, said: "When Ben was murdered, he was the 17th teenager to lose his life to violence that year.

"Almost 13 years to the day, 17 teenagers have lost their lives in 2021. Knife crime is everyone's responsibility and collectively, we have made no progress.

"I welcome the initiatives from the Met Police to tackle the recent surge in knife crime, but we must also recognise that knife crime is now a problem which has spanned generations.

"For meaningful and long lasting positive change to take place, any collective response must extend beyond this crime spike and remain in place to tackle the issue for future generations."

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