Police blame Hollywood for rise of hit-men

A RISE in the number of murders by "hit-men" in Britain is linked to more gratuitous violence in Hollywood films, according to one of Britain's most senior policemen.

Roy Penrose, the director-general of the National Crime Squad (NCS), believes gun-toting characters played by stars such as Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone have encouraged criminals and society in general to become blase about killing. He said the use of hit-men was a "growing issue" nationally.

He also said that the Government's handgun ban, provoked by the Dunblane massacre, had no effect on the supply of firearms to criminals in the UK. Automatic weapons were being smuggled in and were still freely available.

Mr Penrose became the first director-general of the NCS, which has 1,450 officers, when it was set up in April to combat serious and organised crime nationally and internationally.

He says screen violence and firepower has led to a desensitisation of people towards guns and shootings. "I'm conscious of seeing the Death Wish [films], Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis - those sort of big macho-type people - shooting bloody great guns," he said. "I believe that society has become more tolerant of violence and has some appetite for violence."

He argued the combined effects of drugs, money and the glorification of guns and violence meant that if someone said" "`Here's pounds 10,000. Go and blow that geezer away,' they just do it - life appears to be cheap."

Police are notoriously reluctant to discuss contract killing, but Scotland Yard sources admit that "hits" have risen steadily in the past five years. Detectives from the Yard's Organised Crime Group estimate there are up to 20 hit-men operating in London alone, with prices ranging from pounds 1,000 to pounds 20,000 depending on the target.

Most contract killings are between rival crime gangs, increasingly in disputes over drug deals. However, a number have involved businessmen disposing of rivals or partners, and even husbands and wives getting rid of an unwanted spouse.

Last month a financial adviser to one of London's most powerful underworld gangs was shot dead on his doorstep by a hit man. Solly Nahome, 48, a diamond dealer, was killed as he returned to his family home in Finchley, north-west London.

In September, Peter Morris, 52, a civil engineer from Wolverhampton, was jailed after admitting soliciting the death of his wife. He paid an undercover policeman a pounds 500 downpayment for the "hit" after a neighbour with whom he had shared his plans went to the police.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Sales Manager

£60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game