Met launches summer operation as teen killings surge
- Credit: MPS
London faces its worst year for the killing of young people in more than a decade, with 17 teenagers already lost during 2021.
The Met has begun a "large scale, multi-layered operation" to stop the fatalities reaching levels not seen since 2008.
Its primary aim is to protect young people, who appear at greater risk despite serious violence offences actually dropping by 22 per cent over the past year.
Cmdr Alex Murray, the Met’s lead for violent crime, said: "We are devoting huge resources into doing everything within our power to minimise violence.
"It is our priority and can affect anyone from any background."
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He promised efforts are being made to tackle this problem, "from intervention through to enforcement", but fears this may not be enough.
"If we don’t all work together, we could lose more lives," he said.
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The Met also said that of the 17 teen victims this year, 12 victims have been black - more than 70pc. Last year, that figure was nine out of 15 - or 60pc.
That's the lowest percentage recorded over the past five years, with black teenagers targetted in 81pc of cases in both 2017 and 2019. In 2018, it was 68pc.
Shalina Alabaksh from the Croydon MyEnds programme spoke about a "number of contributing factors" which may have led to this: “There isn’t one answer on how to stop it."
Another issue addressed at the briefing is how frequently knives are used.
A knife has been the weapon of choice in 14 (82pc) of the 17 incidents so far this year.
This number was 93pc for last year, where there were 15 teen deaths, and 96pc of the 26 such killings in 2019.
As part of the operation, Cmdr Murray promised there will be more police on the street in the hopes that greater visibility will deter violence.
Stop and Search takes around “400-450 knives off the streets" every month, explained Cmdr Murray, though he acknowledged that the force is "always trying to improve the manner" of how it undertakes the practice.