The Metropolitan Police Service has released its end-of-year crime statistics. The figures compare end of financial year April to March 2017-2018 with April to March 2016-2017. While recorded crime continues to rise in the Met’s area, increases in many crimes are more marked in other parts of the country.
Figures show that overall crime – ie total notifiable offences – has increased by 6.4% (with a jump from 777,458 to 827,225 offences). However, many groups of offences remain at lower levels than was the case back in 2012.
Violence against the person is up by 5.26% (237,774 to 250,287 offences). Under this category, homicides are up by 44% (109 to 157 offences). Eight of these were as a result of the appalling terrorism attacks that occurred at Westminster Bridge in March last year and at London Bridge and Finsbury Park last June.
However, the number of homicides is still much lower than in 2003-2004 when there were 205 instances. Nevertheless, any murder is one murder too many and detectives are working 24/7 to catch those responsible, using all resources available to them. They’re also working with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring offenders to justice, as well as supporting families and loved ones at the most difficult of times.
Episodes of assault with injury increased by 0.54% (50,836 to 51,110 offences). Knife crime offences are up by 21.2% (12,115 to 14,680 offences) and knife crime with injury offences are up by 5.7% (4,446 to 4,700 offences). Knife crime injuries to under 25s have stabilised and recorded offences at present have increased by 3% compared to a 24% increase for the same period last year.
Conversely, gun crime offences are down by 4.6% over the comparison period (2,553 to 2,435 offences), although there was an increase in the discharge of lethal barrelled guns by 23.3% (from 313 to 386 offences).
A Violent Crime Task Force has been instigated to tackle violent crime, weapon-enabled crime and serious criminality. These officers will use a full range of tactics to identify, locate and confront street-level offenders, gangs and knife crime offenders. This unit will be supported by Borough officers, Trident and Area Crime Command and specialist units as well as community partners.
Operation Sceptre will continue to target those people known to routinely carry knives through intelligence-led operations, the increased and proper use of Stop and Search, community weapons sweeps and targeting the shops and markets that sell knives to children.
Burglary and robbery statistics
Burglary of homes and businesses is up by 11.65% (from 69,528 to 77,626 offences). The Met is committed to reducing the number of burglaries across London, currently deploying patrols to ‘hotspot’ areas, carrying out proactive operations in East London and South London against organised criminal groups who commit these offences and collaborating with the Home Counties forces to tackle cross-border offending.
The highly successful MetTrace property marking kits (involving traceable forensic liquid which can be used to invisibly tag valuables and possessions) are being rolled out for a third year. Over a quarter of a million homes have already been provided with MetTrace.
Total robbery is up by 35.81% (24,202 to 32,869 offences), with robbery of personal property rising by 36.17% (22,479 to 30,609 offences). Theft is up by 8.05% (305,876 to 330,511 offences) with theft from the person standing at 25.19% (38,013 to 47,587 offences).
Some of the increase in robbery and theft is attributable to scooter-related crime. The Met has been putting a huge amount of effort into stemming the rise in these offences. In October, new tactics such as DNA spray, lightweight police motorcycles and remote control tyre deflation devices were introduced. As a result, reductions in scooter-related crime are being experienced. In April 2017, there were 1,512 scooter, moped and motorcycle thefts. In less than a year this number was reduced. March 2018 saw 756 thefts. That’s a 50% reduction.
In July last year, the number of crimes committed using scooters, mopeds and motorcycles peaked at 2,592. In less than a year this number was reduced. Last month witnessed 1,238 crimes. This represents a 52% reduction.
Busy and challenging time
Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, who holds responsibility for territorial policing, said: “The Met continues to experience a very busy and challenging time against a backdrop of significant reductions in resources. I’m very concerned about the rise in crime in the capital, particularly murder, violent crime and knife crime.”
He continued: “We are upping our enforcement efforts and building on some of the work we’ve already been doing. We’re putting more officers on the street and have launched the Violent Crime Task Force. We are doubling our targeted anti-knife crime activity with hundreds more officers on visible patrols in affected communities. Despite our continued focus on reducing knife crime, though, it’s fair to say that prevention and diversion will always be key. There are complex social reasons why more young people are carrying knives and we’ve been absolutely clear that knife crime cannot be solved by the police alone. We also need the help and support of London’s agencies and communities whom we know are behind us.”
In conclusion, Hewitt stated: “Despite the challenges that are ahead, the Metropolitan Police Service will continue to focus on bringing offenders to justice, making the streets a hostile territory for criminals, supporting victims and working closely with local communities.”