‘Help us stamp out knife crime’
Police chief urges family and friends to alert force about weapon carriers
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