A crackdown on knife crime is sweeping west London this week as police ramp up operations to coincide with new sentencing guidelines for dealing with people who carry knives.
The heightened police activity is part of a London-wide initiative targeting knife crime in the hope of preventing offences.
Weapon sweeps will be taking place where intelligence suggests that offenders are hiding knives in public areas to avoid being caught in possession of a knife.
Local Safer Neighbourhood Teams, specialist officers from the Territorial Support Group, and Trident Gang Crime Command will be conducting high-visibility patrols on estates and in places where people are believed to be carrying knives.
Officers from Roads Policing Traffic Command will be in transport hubs using knife wands to catch and deter those carrying knives on public transport.
ANPR operations will be carried out in hotspot areas for knife crime, to capture people involved in knife crime who have access to vehicles.
Trident officers who deal with gang crime will also be supporting the activity across London to maximise all opportunities to gather evidence.
Officers will be visiting the homes of individuals who have previously been arrested for possession of a knife.
Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Haydon, the Head of Trident Gang Crime Command, said: “Tackling knife crime is a key priority for the Met. Every week, officers from across London carry out enforcement activity, and educational programmes aimed at prevention are regularly delivered to young people.
“The people of London can expect to see lots of coordinated and intelligence-led police activity over the coming week. We will be carrying out a variety of operations including weapon sweeps and stop and search; as well as targeting known offenders.”
The types of knives being seized by officers on the streets of London are broad and varied, ranging from hunting knives and flick knives to those you would expect to find in the kitchen of any home.
The supply of knives to young people is being looked at as part of the Met’s prevention strategy.
During the week, officers will be working with Trading Standards enforcement and young people from the Met Police Cadets to identify retail stores that are selling knives to anyone under the age of 18.
Knives are being ordered over the internet through retailers in the UK and overseas so officers are working closely with UK Border forces to trace and target larger consignments of knives.
The Met is also working with Words 4 Weapons - a charity that has 30 knife surrender bins located at various sites across London. A map showing the location of the bins can be found at www.met.police.uk/stopknifecrime.
DCS Haydon continued: “It is a tragic fact that most of the people killed or injured as a result of knife crime in London are under the age of 18.
“That is why it is so important to reach out to young people and try to educate them to make them realise the very real consequences of carrying knives. Carrying a knife leads to using a knife and there is every chance that the knife you may use could actually be used on you.
“Your local area should be a safe place to live and raise your family and knives have no place on our streets.”