Police arrest 10,000 in London knife crackdown

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The Independent Online

Police have arrested more than 10,000 people in London and seized more than 5,000 knives since starting a crackdown on bladed crime in the capital following the election of Boris Johnson as mayor in May last year.

Scotland Yard said serious knife injuries to teenagers had fallen by a third over the past 12 months and youth knife crime in the capital was down by nine per cent.

It said nearly 290,000 searches conducted as part of Operation Blunt 2 had led to 10,266 arrests and the confiscation of 5,480 knives.

About nine out of 10 of those arrested had been charged with offences, officers said.

The crackdown was ordered in response to fears that knife crime in the capital, particularly among young people, was spiralling out of control following a spate of teenage murders.

Its launch fulfilled a campaign pledge by Johnson to take action on the issue.

Commander Mark Simmonds said the Metropolitan Police was making smarter use of intelligence to clamp down on potential troublespots.

He said targeted measures had led to a 42 percent reduction in knife offences during the peak 3-hour period after the end of school, when children encounter each other as they travel home.

But Acting Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin said the force's work was far from over. "This is not job done," he said. "All young people are not villains. The vast majority of the young people in London are law abiding young citizens who volunteer a lot to support us.

"It is still very much a minority but sadly ends up in too many tragedies."

Last year 29 teenagers were murdered of whom 22 had been stabbed.

So far this year eight teenagers have been killed, including 18-year-old Adam Khan Pervaiz, found stabbed to death in the stairwell of block of flats in Deptford, southeast London, earlier this month.