Teenage boy and woman shot in London amid calls to tackle violent crime wave

Attack comes as Metropolitan Police statistics show average of 60 moped-enabled robberies every day in London

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Thursday 07 June 2018 19:31 BST
A dashcam image showing an attack by moped robbers on a car in Finchley on Saturday
A dashcam image showing an attack by moped robbers on a car in Finchley on Saturday

A teenage boy and woman have been been shot in London amid mounting calls to tackle a national rise in violent crime.

Scotland Yard’s latest statistics show a 5 per cent rise in violence in the year to April, while knife crime is up 18 per cent, muggings up 30 per cent, youth homicide up a quarter and moped muggings up by 50 per cent to an average rate of 60 a day.

Nationally, knife crime has rocketed by 22 per cent across England and Wales in a year and robberies by a third.

The double shooting took place in Brixton on Wednesday night, where police found a 34-year-old woman with gunshot injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was later treated for wounds that were also not life-threatening in hospital. No one has been arrested and police are appealing for information.

It came after an Australian journalist branded the crime rate in London “crazy” after masked robbers on bicycles forced her crew to hand over a £14,000 camera while threatening them with a gun.

Scotland Yard are separately calling for people to come forward with information on a gang fight that erupted in broad daylight on a street in Hounslow, west London, that left at least one man with stab injuries. Two suspects have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.

Days before, a man was slashed with a “zombie knife” after armed robbers riding two mopeds surrounded his car and demanded his watch as he waited at traffic lights.

Moment armed men steal TV camera from Australian news crew

The attackers jumped on the victim’s car and smashed the windscreen while threatening the driver and a passenger with the knife and a hammer on the North Circular Road in Finchley on Saturday.

Detective Constable Oliver Kotis said: “This was a shocking attack on innocent people in broad daylight. We are determined to bring these violent criminals to justice, but we need the help of the community to find and arrest these people.”

London Assembly member Tony Arbour obtained figures showing that more than 22,000 moped-enabled crimes were reported in London in the year to May.

The peak came in July, with 2,592 in July, amid warnings by moped delivery drivers that they were being specifically targeted by criminals who then use their vehicles to commit more robberies.

“A lot of drivers have left their jobs and become minicab drivers because they don’t feel safe,” acid attack victim Jabed Hussain told The Independent.

“It’s like we’re working in a jungle. This is my home where I live and I want my safety, everyone deserves their safety.”

At a meeting held with government ministers, the Motorcycle Industry Association and the London Mayor’s Office on Wednesday, Scotland Yard said moped crime had been “steadily falling” in London.

The force’s figures show that from February to May this year there was a 39 per cent reduction in the number of times scooters were used to commit crime compared with the previous three months.

Police said the decline has been aided by the deployment of new tactics such as the use of off-road bikes in pursuits and DNA marker sprays.

Nick Hurd, the policing minister, said: “We are determined to support the police in their fight against crime and that is why we are consulting to change the law to give officers greater confidence to chase suspects on the roads.”

He hailed the government’s first Serious Violence Strategy as a “major shift” in its response to knife and gun crime and pledged to focus on steering young people away from crime.

Last week the Met’s gang crime chief said the force was deploying a range of prevention tactics including intelligence-led stop and search, proactive raids and the “divert” programme that aims to move young offenders into employment, development and education opportunities.

“We are absolutely committed to reducing the level of violence on the streets of London and are using new and existing policing tools that we believe are relevant and proportionate,” Commander Jim Stokley added.

“The policing response to violent crime also needs to be carried out with the support of the communities we serve.

“Police action is part of the answer to the problem of violent crime, but can never be the entire solution.”

Sadiq Khan accused the government of ignoring a link between police budget cuts and rising crime after a Home Office document saying reductions “likely contributed” to violence and “encouraged” offenders was leaked.

But the Mayor of London said he accepted responsibility for a surge in violence as the capital’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

"Security is the biggest concern that I have, it's the one thing that keeps me up at night – whether it's terrorism threats, whether it's the surge in serious violent crime,” he told LBC Radio.

"But I am not going to apologise for explaining the context. We have seen across the country an increase in serious violent crime. This weekend in Ipswich, a 17-year-old child lost his life because of a stabbing.

“We've seen in Liverpool, in Cardiff, in Manchester, shootings in daylight hours where teenagers have lost their lives.

"Over the course of the last three or four years, we've seen an increase in violent crime across our country. These are national problems that demand national solutions."

The new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has vowed to prioritise police funding in an upcoming government spending review following persistent calls for more resources to tackle rocketing demand and the terror threat.

A financial settlement offered last year saw cash awarded to specific areas while Police and Crime Commissioners were told to increase the money taken from council tax to contribute towards £450m extra funding.

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