London deploys 300 extra police to combat violent crime
Metropolitan Police to use stop-and-search tactics to tackle spike in shootings and stabbings
Scotland Yard will send an extra 300 police officers to crime hotspots in London over the weekend to combat an increase in violence that has pushed the capital’s murder rate above New York’s.
There have been six violent deaths in the capital so far in April, including a 17-year-old girl killed in a drive-by shooting and a 16-year-old who was shot in the face.
Chief Constable Sara Thornton said police would also use stop-and-search tactics to curb knife and gun attacks. The tactic is controversial because of concerns that police stop and searches unfairly target minorities.
Policing "cannot address the social conditions that lead to violence" but while "stop and search or arrests are not a silver bullet, they are an important tool in helping to protect the public from violent crime", Chief Constable Thornton wrote in The Telegraph newspaper.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan backed the police strategy, calling targeted stop-and-search tactics an invaluable tool.
His comments came after reports that the number of suspected murders in London was higher than in New York.
Scotland Yard has opened 55 murder investigations so far in 2018. The spike in violence saw 13 people killed within two weeks last month contributing to London having more murders in February and March than in New York.
Politicians blame police budget cuts and an unchecked drugs feuds between urban street gangs for the rise in violence.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said London has experienced a "bad three months" in terms of murders but denied that the capital was experiencing a “crisis”.
The commissioner said she does not feel police are overexposed in dealing with violent crime, but conceded that it is "a long-term problem which requires concerted long-term effort".
The "ferocious violence" used by young people in groups is often associated with street drug-dealing, she said.
Updated: April 7, 2018 06:11 PM