LONDON: Police Commissioner Cressida Dick on Wednesday (13 May) set out the Met’s plans to continue suppressing violent crime as lockdown measures are eased.
Over the past seven weeks, officers across the capital have been working hard to keep London safe and support vital NHS workers on the frontline of the pandemic. According to Met Police, when the streets emptied, crime levels dropped as the vast majority of people stayed at home. During this period that Met capitalised on this unprecedented shift in crime and demand to identify and target offenders responsible for the most serious crimes, particularly violence. Since 13 March, officers have recovered 444 knives, 322 offensive weapons, 106 firearms and made 2,478 other seizures – mostly drugs.
As the Government begins to remove some lockdown restrictions, the Met is continuing to proactively bear down on violence in all its forms.
As part of this commitment, dedicated teams have been established to spearhead suppression activity at a local and neighbourhood level. More than 620 officers will make up new Violence Suppression Units (VSU).
Officers have also identified up to 1,000 of London’s most prolific violent offenders and are personally targeting each one of them. The Met is offering every individual support and help to take this opportunity to turn their lives around.
Analysts have also identified up to 250 “micro hotspots”, small areas disproportionately affected by street violence and robbery. Innovative tactics, including short bursts of police activity at random times, will be deployed to drive out offenders.
Commissioner Dick said: “The last seven weeks have not been easy for Londoners and my thoughts are with everyone who has suffered a terrible loss as a result of this invisible enemy. Our focus is now towards life as the lockdown restrictions are eased. Unsurprisingly, as Londoners stayed at home we saw huge decreases in almost all crime types – including in priority areas such as violence”.
Do you know about someone who is carrying a knife or is involved in violence? If you have information that could help keep your community safe, but don’t want to speak to police, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.fearless.org. They do not ask your name and cannot trace your call or IP address.