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Met Police chief Cressida Dick declares war on 190 gangs behind violence in London

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 5 days ago Robin De Peyer, Justin davenport, Adebola Lamuye, Owen Sheppard
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Video: Concern over knife crime 'justified' (Sky)

Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick today defended the Met’s tactics in tackling knife crime in London as she pledged to “relentlessly” target 190 gangs fuelling the violent crimewave.

Writing in the Standard after five killings in six days, she said her officers had increased the use of stop and search, taken thousands of knives off the streets and were acting on intelligence to prevent attacks.

Her comments came after Home Secretary Sajid Javid urged Scotland Yard to “step up the police response”, including stop and search, to end the bloodshed.

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Mr Javid interrupted a visit to the United States to call the Met Commissioner for an update on the recent series of knife deaths. His intervention increases pressure on her and London Mayor Sadiq Khan to stem the tide of violence.

a group of people crossing a city street filled with traffic at night © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

In a separate interview with Sky News today he also admitted the police need more funding to tackle knife violence — and hinted that Chancellor Philip Hammond could come forward with extra cash in the coming weeks.

Met chief Cressida Dick has vowed to 'relentlessly' target London gangs after crime wave © Reuters Met chief Cressida Dick has vowed to 'relentlessly' target London gangs after crime wave

On a trip to Seattle, Mr Javid said he was “deeply worried” about the spiralling violence in London and that he was in discussions with the Chancellor to make sure the police had the financial resources they needed.

He said he had a commitment from Mr Hammond “to sit down with me and discuss what resource is needed for the police and we have the December settlement just a few weeks away so this is something that can be looked at very, very quickly.”

He spoke as four more young people were recovering in hospital after being stabbed in London in the past 48 hours. None were said to be in a life-threatening condition.

a man standing next to a car: sajid-javid-prevent.jpg © Provided by Local News RSS EN-GB sajid-javid-prevent.jpg

A man in his twenties was stabbed in Third Avenue, Enfield, shortly before 11pm last night. He is said to be stable in hospital and two men have been arrested.

A stabbing in Shepherd’s Bush at midday yesterday left a 16-year-old boy critically ill. He was knifed yards from a children’s nursery in Willow Vale, a quiet residential street. He was today said to be in a stable condition.

A 17-year-old boy remained in a critical but stable condition in hospital today after he was stabbed in West Hampstead on Tuesday night. Another man, 21, was injured after being knifed in Hackney Wick at about 2pm yesterday.

Ms Dick spoke out after the five killings in London in recent days, with three of the fatalities being teenagers.

a group of people posing for the camera: victimsmain.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited victimsmain.jpg

In a heartfelt piece she said her officers were working tirelessly — day and night — to prevent attacks and bring to justice the people of violence.

She said: “The causes of the rise in violence are complex, and so are the solutions but each and every one of my officers and staff, whether they are a firearms officer, a neighbourhood officer or a call handler, know violence is our number one priority and have this at the forefront of their minds whatever they are doing.

“They take this personally and are determined to arrest the people that blight our communities, often working bravely in dangerous situations.”

She said the new Violent Crime Task Force had arrested more than 1,800 “violent, weapon-carrying people” since it was launched seven months ago.

She also declared war on the 190 gangs in London who she said were committing more than half of all the gun crime in the capital but who were also recruiting “vulnerable young people, drawing them into a life of drug-dealing, sexual exploitation and violence through a false sense of belonging which is then incredibly hard for them to escape”.

The commissioner also spoke of police efforts to safeguard children “in a more sophisticated way” and how officers used “teachable” moments in custody to help them away from crime.

She said police forces were stretched but called for communities to work together and say “enough is enough” adding that there was a need for “strong partnerships and investment to create real alternatives for our young people so they can choose a life of opportunities helping them avoid the draw into gangs and violence.”

There have been 119 murders in London so far this year, nearing last year’s total of 123. On Monday, Mayor Mr Khan warned it could take a generation to turn the tide of violent crime.

He said it was “difficult” to solve knife crime because of budget cuts but “there are other complex reasons as well”.


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