‘Help us stamp out knife crime’

Po­lice chief urges fam­ily and friends to alert force about weapon car­ri­ers

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Danya Bazaraa danya.bazaraa@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THE Metropoli­tan Po­lice’s most se­nior of­fi­cer is call­ing on res­i­dents to join him in stamp­ing out knife crime.

Sir Bernard Ho­ganHowe has urged the public to tell po­lice if they know a friend or fam­ily mem­ber who car­ries a knife, in or­der to stop them ru­in­ing their own or some­body else’s lives.

Speak­ing with BBC Lon­don’s Ed­die Nestor on Wed­nes­day, June 17, the com­mis­sioner said: “If a fam­ily mem­ber, friend or gang mem­ber car­ries a knife they are just as likely to use it against you as some­one else, so I’d like peo­ple to tell us when they know some­one is car­ry­ing a knife.

“We get 4.5 mil­lion calls a year, so the public do trust us to do some­thing, but we don’t get enough spe­cific in­for­ma­tion about who’s car­ry­ing knives. Call us on 101 or via Crimestop­pers on 0800 555 111.

“Knife crime re­mains a blight on Lon­don and we have to do some­thing about it.”

The com­mis­sioner also praised changes to the way stop and search has been used, but iden­ti­fied the need for greater use of the tac­tic in ar­eas with high lev­els of knife crime and gang vi­o­lence.

He said: “Over the past three years we have lis­tened to feed­back from the public about too many in­ef­fec­tive stop and searches. We have worked to make it more tar­geted and have seen a broad re­duc­tion in vi­o­lence, shoot­ings and stab­bings.

“But over the last three months there has been a rise in stab­bings and that has caused us to re­view our po­si­tion on stop and search.

“We were do­ing too much. Re­peat­edly stop­ping peo­ple who have done noth­ing wrong can’t be right, but if we are get­ting to the stage where peo­ple think they can carry knives with im­punity, that can’t be good for any­one.

“Stop and search is a rea­son­able tac­tic when used in the right way.

“We don’t want to see a re­turn to a mil­lion stop and searches, but there is an ar­gu­ment for more use of stop and searches fo­cused on high knife crime ar­eas and tar­get­ing gangs. Our 1,200 Tri­dent Gang Crime of­fi­cers have a big part to play in this.

“If we know peo­ple are vi­o­lent and carry knives, then we have the power to pre­vent them hurt­ing peo­ple and we should stop and search them ev­ery day.”

Mr Ho­gan-Howe added: “Be­ing caught car­ry­ing a knife is less se­ri­ous for the sus­pect than us­ing it. There is draft leg­is­la­tion on the statute book which would lead to peo­ple be­ing sent to prison for six months if they’re twice caught car­ry­ing a knife.

“The same sort of leg­is­la­tion has worked to tackle gun crime. We need sim­plic­ity for these of­fences that gang mem­bers un­der­stand.”

n SUP­PORT: Met Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Bernard Ho­gan-Howe

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