MPS cracks down on knife crime amid concerns over teen homicides

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has seized nearly 300 knives and arrested almost 1,000 people in a week-long crackdown on violent crime.

Nov 25, 2021
By Tony Thompson
A weapons sweep at open spaces in Westminster.

Operation Sceptre, described as an “intensification” of existing knife crime prevention efforts, saw officers conduct targeted patrols in violence hotspots and carry out increased weapons sweeps.

Officers also worked closely with British Transport Police during knife arch deployments at transport hubs, aimed at deterring people from carrying weapons and drugs on the train and tube network. Automatic numberplate recognition technology was also used by MPS and City of London Police officers, targeting those carrying and supplying drugs on the roads in and out of London.

There was also a focus on education, diversion and prevention, with officers engaging with 10,563 young people, community members and business owners.

In one instance, officers from the northwest Violence and Gang Coordination Hub, alongside a mother who lost her son to knife crime and an ex-offender, engaged with a pupil referral unit to warn students of the consequences of carrying a knife. Following the talks, several young people asked the officers to make referrals on their behalf to external agencies for support in sports activities and apprenticeships.

Although the number of homicides in the capital has fallen by seven per cent and levels of knife crime overall have fallen by 32 per cent, the operation comes at time of heightened concern around youth violence, with 2021 on course to see record numbers of teenage homicides in the capital.

The MPS announced on Thursday morning (November 25) that a murder investigation is underway into the fatal stabbing of a youth, believed to be a 16-year-old, in Hounslow, West London.

It takes the number of confirmed teenage homicides in London to 28, one off the previous peak in 2008.

Superintendent Jim Corbett, who led Operation Sceptre said: “Knife crime completely destroys victims, families and communities, which is why tackling it is our top priority.

“Officers will continue doing everything they can to target those intent on committing violent crime on our streets, to make London safer.

“Suppressing violence needs a holistic approach to deliver long-lasting solutions. We must all work together – the responsibility lies with us all to create safe communities.”

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