Police blame Hollywood for rise of hit-men
Monday 28 December 1998
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.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Striker's four-month ban for biting an opponent expires on Friday
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£60 - £65 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The J...
£100 - £181 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: The JobTo plan and deliver all ...
£50 - £60 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The J...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...