LONDON: The Met’s efforts to bear down on gun crime in London is making a significant impact. So far this year, lethal barrel discharges have reduced by 37 per cent (Jan-April 22) compared to the same period in 2021.
Officers have seized 524 lethal firearms from the streets (financial year 2021/22) compared with 480 in the same period for 2020/21 and 408 in 2019/20;
The number of shootings has also gone down from 283 in the financial year 2019/20 to 196 in 2021/22.
The results are thanks to dedicated proactive units carrying out long term, intelligence-led operations in areas of heightened gang criminality, spearheaded by our Specialist Crime Command. It means London is now a hostile place for criminals transporting firearms.
Investigations into shootings are becoming stronger, with an increase in the number of charges brought for investigations into shootings rising from 20 per cent in 2019/20 to 38 per cent in 2021/22.
Detective Chief Superintendent Nick Blackburn, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “Officers have been working around-the-clock to dismantle organised crime groups and disrupt the transportation of firearms into London.
“The majority of shootings are linked to gang violence and often result in serious injury or loss of life. Attacks can prompt retaliation, so seizing firearms at source and restricting availability is vital in protecting London’s communities.
“When incidents do occur, our armed officers work on the ground to disrupt offending and deliver the strongest response.
“Tackling violence is the Met’s number one priority and we are seeing an impact, keeping communities safer and preventing many coming to harm. But we will not stop here, our efforts to prevent gun crime and shootings will only continue as we strive to keep London safe.”
Recent achievements of the Met’s dedication to tackling gun crime include two men who were sentenced to a combined 19 years in prison for the supply of firearms following a proactive investigation. Six firearms bound for London’s streets were seized and prevented from causing destruction – including a sawn off shot gun, a pistol and two revolvers.
The Met is taking part in the national surrender from today (Thursday, 12 May) and asking those with firearms and ammunition to hand in their weapons. Those who do so will remain anonymous and will not face prosecution for the illegal possession at the point of surrender.
Any firearm, including handguns, shotguns, rifles, BB guns, imitation, antique, ex-military firearms or ammunition can be surrendered between Thursday, 12 May and Sunday, 29 May. Registered weapons which are no longer wanted can also be handed in, as well as noxious sprays and electric shock devices such as Tasers, CS spray and stun guns.
Detective Chief Superintendent Nick Blackburn concluded: “We need your help to remove weapons from our streets. Too often we come across family members or friends of criminals being asked to hide firearms. They often believe they won’t be arrested or prosecuted – they will.
“If someone asks you to conceal a weapon, they are putting the risk on you. If you are caught in possession of a firearm, the likelihood is you will be jailed for a minimum of five years.”
“Often the firearms we seize are converted and formally legally-owned. They are then acquired by criminals and distributed for illegal use.
“Help us to reduce the threat of gun crime in London. I would urge anyone to seize this opportunity if it applies to you. If you have any information regarding gun crime, please speak to police or in confidence through the independent charity 100% anonymously.”