Met warns of increase in London gun, knife crime

Indo Asian News Service

London, April 13 (IANS) Britain's Metropolitan police has warned there has been a steep increase in gun and knife crime in London over the past year, adding that years of budget cuts may at least be partially responsible, the media reported.

The Metropolitan police on Wednesday said gun and knife crime rose 42 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively, and that recorded crime was up across virtually every category, The Guardian reported.

In a briefing on Wednesday, Martin Hewitt, the force's Assistant Commissioner, sought to pin some of the blame on cuts to funding.

"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," he said.

The biggest concern is the rise in violent crime. There was an increase in young people carrying knives, Hewitt said, with only a quarter of those carrying a blade linked to gangs.

The Met suspects the increase is partly down to people increasingly believing in the need to carry a knife for self-protection.

Incidents of a guns being fired were up 28 per cent to 306. The Met said it believed availability of guns had increased, reports The Guardian.

The Met has held officer numbers at 31,000, but admits it has fewer detectives than it needs and, as the force that protects the capital, has extra demands and costs.

Only 40 per cent of calls to the Met were about crime, it said.

In 2016-17, it dealt with 50,000 reports of people missing and 61,000 calls regarding mental health.

--IANS

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