London

Gun crime in London increases by 42%

Armed British Police officer, with rifle and Taser, wearing a body-worn video camera Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The Met Police said there were "complex social reasons why more young people are carrying knives"

Gun crime offences in London surged by 42% in the last year, according to official statistics.

The Met Police's figures showed there were 2,544 gun crime offences from April 2016 to April 2017 compared to 1,793 offences from 2015 until 2016.

Knife crime also increased by 24% with 12,074 recorded offences from 2016 to 2017.

The Met said although crime rates were rising they remained at a much lower level than five years ago.

Scotland Yard registered annual rises across a number of serious offence categories in the past 12 months, following several years of falls.

The total number of offences during the 2016 to 2017 financial year was 774,737, an increase of 4% from the previous year when total offences stood at 740,933.

Knife crime offences that resulted in an injury also increased, by 21% to 4,415 from 2016 to 2017, compared to 3,663 offences the year before.

The force said robbery offences, which increased 12% year-on-year, were at about half the level of 2006-2007 and there were 58 fewer homicides this year compared to 10 years ago.

Martin Hewitt, assistant commissioner responsible for territorial policing, said: "Similar to the rest of England and Wales, crime rates in London are rising, but many of these are still at a much lower level than five years ago and are against the backdrop of significant reductions in resources.

Image caption By the end of the year there will be an extra dedicated officer on every ward in the capital, the Met Police said

"Whilst we continue to focus on reducing stabbings by taking weapons and dangerous offenders off the streets, prevention and diversion from knife crime is key.

"There are complex social reasons why more young people are carrying knives and this cannot be solved by the police alone, we must work with communities to help combat knife crime."

Drug offences fell by 9%, from 41,164 to 37,374. Burglary offences also fell slightly, from 69,703 to 69,501.

Sophie Linden, London's deputy mayor for policing, said: "These figures are deeply disturbing, and a stark reminder of the enormous pressure our police are under every day as they work so tirelessly to protect us."

A report from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary said it was satisfied with the Met's overall performance, but warned there were areas of "serious concern" about its effectiveness that needed to be addressed.

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