Mayor takes action to strengthen London’s Violent Crime Taskforce
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Mayor of London are boosting the fight against violent crime in the capital by adding another 122 officers to the City Hall funded Violent Crime Taskforce for the next three months.
The officers will temporarily move from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, and will be ready to start on Monday (17 September), boosting the size of the City Hall funded Violent Crime Taskforce - a targeted team making arrests and taking weapons off the streets in the areas of London with the highest concentrations of knife and other forms of violent crime.
The taskforce was launched in April using £15 million of additional funding from City Hall and has so far made 895 arrests, carried out 1400 weapons sweeps, removed 212 knives and removed nearly 200 offensive weapons from our streets. Bolstering the Taskforce from its current 150 officers to 272 will allow the Met to be even more proactive on the streets of the capital, bearing down on violent crime and serious criminality.
The new move will give officers a greater presence in areas with high levels of violent crime, as well as allowing more intelligence-led and targeted stop and search, and the use of specialists in covert tactics. The taskforce seeks to target dangerous offenders and provide local officers with speedy and accurate intelligence to take them off the streets.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This is drastic action that I would rather we didn’t have to take, but the Government’s persistent refusal to give our police service the funding they desperately need has left with us with no choice.
“The level of violent crime in London is unacceptably high. As well as setting up the new dedicated Violent Crime Taskforce to focus on the areas worst affected, I’m bringing together the Met Police with local councils, charities, community groups and others to work on a public health approach to tackling knife crime, and we have created a new £45 million Young Londoners Fund to provide young people with positive alternatives to crime and to help those caught up in gangs to get into employment and training.
“The causes of violent crime are extremely complex, and involve culture, community, gangs, drugs, poverty and a lack of opportunities and have been made much worse by the Government’s huge cuts to the Metropolitan Police and youth services across our city, resulting in police numbers falling to the lowest level in 20 years. Cuts really do have consequences.”
The Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC) is the largest police unit in the UK, made up of more than 2,300 police and community support officers.
This is a short-term initiative, and the RTPC will seek to mitigate any temporary impact on staffing numbers through backfilling posts in key areasand focus effort in other areas, such as reducing road danger.
The Mayor added: “I want to reassure Londoners that moving officers from the roads and traffic policing command is only a temporary measure. The Met will work to minimise the impact of their transfer, and policing our roads remains a key priority.”
Notes to editors
- Funded by City Hall, the Violent Crime Taskforce is helping to keep dangerous criminals, weapons and drugs off London's streets. The Mayor has invested an additional £138 million in the Met over the last two years in order to reduce the impact of the government’s massive savings enforced on the Met. This includes £15 million specifically to help tackle knife crime.
- Every single London borough now has a bespoke Knife Crime Action Plan created in partnership with the Met police and every school and college can now receive a knife wand, to help keep young people safe and prevent knife crime at school. 200 schools in London have taken up the Mayor's offer of a knife wand.
- The Mayor’s first anti-knife crime media campaign, ‘London Needs You Alive’, launched in November. The campaign brings together role models and social media youth ‘influencers’ to encourage young people away from carrying a knife, focusing on their talent and worth to the capital. With hundreds of thousands of social media followers between them, leading grime artist Yungen, MC Bossman Birdie, photographer Tom Sloan and urban poet Hussain Manawer are among those supporting it. To date this campaign has been viewed 4,043,390 times by Londoners.
- As part of the Mayor’s Public Health approach, he has confirmed he is investing £1.4 million to continue to provide youth workers in Major Trauma Centres, and place more youth workers in hospital A&E departments to help steer young Londoners who have been involved in knife crime away from violence in the future. Combined with the Mayor’s Young Londoner’s funding this brings total investment in specialist youth support in hospitals to £2.7 million between 2018-2020.
- Sadiq has also invested £45 million in the Young Londoners Fund - a brand-new fund for local communities and charities to help young people fulfil their potential particularly those who are at risk of getting caught up in crime.
- Prevention is more effective than enforcement, but the fact remains that after years of government underfunding and cuts, the Met police is significantly underfunded causing a huge drain on resources and officer numbers are falling. Time and again, The Mayor has called on the government, who are responsible for more than 70 per cent of the Met police budget, to do the right thing and give our police the funds they need to keep us safe. But they have refused. We will continue to work tirelessly to help keep our young Londoners safe.