"Reductions in resources" cited as crime in London is on the rise

New figures for the last year show gun crime in London was up 42% and knife crime rose 24%.

The Metropolitan Police Service has published its end-of-year crime statistics for 2016-2017 which show overall crime was up 4.5% to nearly 774,737 offences, with 16.72% counted as solved, down from 18.8% the previous year.

Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, responsible for Territorial Policing, said: "London is one of the safest global cities in the world. There are few others with such low rates of serious crime, such as murder and gun crime.

"Similar to the rest of England and Wales, crime rates in London are rising, but many of these are still at a much lower level than five years ago and are against the backdrop of significant reductions in resources.

"For example, robbery is around half the level of 2006/7 and there were 58 fewer homicides this year compared with 10 years ago. Along with rises in traditional crimes, we are facing new challenges across London.

"We are concerned about the rise of gun crime and rise of knife crime offences committed by young people and the changing nature of the offenders. Young people carrying knives are doing so for a variety of reasons including status, criminality and self-protection but only around a quarter are affiliated with gangs.

"Whilst we continue to focus on reducing stabbings by taking weapons and dangerous offenders off the streets, prevention and diversion from knife crime is key. There are complex social reasons why more young people are carrying knives and this cannot be solved by the police alone, we must work with communities to help combat knife crime.

"We are also managing an increased demand across areas as a result of societal changes such as child protection, mental health and missing people.

"The crime picture has evolved and so must we in the way we police, recruit and operate. We have an ambitious transformation programme which is already underway and will deliver a 21st century police service for London, strengthening local policing by bringing specialist officers closer to communities.”

He added that the Met is “committed to increasing the amount of neighbourhood officers dedicated to particular areas to engage with the public and work with them to keep them safe.” And that “by the end of this year there will be an extra dedicated officer on every ward.”