The Government keeps claiming crime is falling, but the Metropolitan Police have revealed that its officers were called to 9,000 incidents of knife crime in London last year – about 25 incidents daily. This shocking figure is unprecedented and is being ignored by an uncaring and dismissive Tory administration that apparently fails to understand the impact on Londoners. I raised knife crime at PMQs to highlight the low (16%) prosecution rate in Southwark, meaning attackers evade justice.
In the same period there were 1,662 incidents of gun crime – with many in Southwark and Lambeth. The Met has announced a new operation to tackle gun crime which will focus heavily in the two boroughs. Operation Viper, led by the Trident and Gang Crime Command, will include high-visibility armed patrols and intelligence-led stop and search, in an effort to tackle the problem.
There has also been a spate of robberies and muggings for gold jewellery and mobile phones in SE1 and SE17. For my constituents, crime remains an all too significant concern.
The problem of gun and knife crime on the streets of London amounts to a crisis, but this blasé Government has overseen cuts to police numbers and failed to even mention knife crime in the Home Office’s latest strategy. The Policing Minister agreed to come and speak to local schoolchildren about the issue but appears to have now bottled out of defending his Government’s atrocious record. I’m challenging him to stick to his commitment – which he gave to Mariama Kamara, the mother of murdered 16 year old Mo Dura-Ray. Backing out now would be an insult to a distraught mum seeking justice for her son.
I am proud to be working with other local Labour MPs, including Chuka Umunna (MP for Streatham) who has raised the issue recently and Vicky Foxcroft (MP for neighbouring Lewisham and Deptford) to try and get the Government to focus on this serious issue.