Croydon tops league for knife crimes in London schools

Fingerprints on a knife. Pic: Alchemica

Croydon has the worst record for knife crime in schools than any other London borough, newly released figures show.

Metropolitan Police figures show that Croydon had 89 knife crime offences in school premises between 2015-2018, over 30 more than any other borough.

Waltham Forest (54) and Enfield (53) are second and third consecutively. Croydon has over three times the amount of knife crimes than Hackney which has the lowest number of knife crimes in school premises among the EastLondonLines boroughs.

The figures show there has been a 15 per cent increase of knife crime in school premises between 2015 and 2018. There were 1,071 offences of pupils carrying a blade or other offensive weapon in schools.

Nearly 400 children have been caught with knives and other weapons in schools across south London during the same time period. Last year there were 359 such recorded offences in London schools alone.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan criticised the government over police funding following a visit to Croydon BME Forum in Mitcham Road.

A spokesperson for the Croydon BME Forum said: “There is a link between the number of cuts to social services such as youth centres, schools and knife crime going up.

“The same can be said for police numbers going down as it’s much harder for them to deal with such issues.”

In London alone, £850 million has been lost in the police force since 2011.

Kingston upon Thames has the least with only six within that three-year period. Kensington and Chelsea have the second least with 12, whilst Westminster and Merton have 13.

A number of the northern boroughs across London have some of the highest figures for knife crime incidents in schools.

The difference in comparison between Croydon, located at the heart of the south, and the rest of London is quite significant. Croydon is just under 15 times worse than Kingston upon Thames which is the only borough to have single digits in police reported offences.

LBC have revealed that 18 people have already been fatally stabbed during 2019.

Children’s weapons of choice have included knuckledusters, kitchen knives, butterfly knives and machetes.

Offenders as young as seven have been found with such weapons.

Chancellor Philip Hammond allocated an additional £100million last week to help deal with the issue.

Tower Hamlets has twenty more incidents than Hackney, 46 compared to 26, and is only four behind Lewisham who sit in fourth place across all London boroughs with 50.

The Metropolitan Police formed the Violent Crime Task Force (VCTF) in April last year to help tackle knife crime and to take weapons off the streets.

They are formed of 272 officers and carry out a variety of activities such as weapon sweeps in public parks and open spaces.

VCTF seized 650 knives, 495 offensive weapons and arrested over 3,000 people until the end of February 2019.

They have also worked with other organisations including Forensic Services, the Dog Unit, the Territorial Support Group and Roads Policing Units.

Chief Superintendent Ade Adelekan, who leads the VCTF, said: “Officers from across the Met are working tirelessly to reduce the levels of violence, prevent crime, protect communities, take weapons off the street and bring perpetrators to justice. Bearing down on violent crime continues to be the top priority for the Met.

“We know there is still a significant amount of work to do in order to rid the capital of violence and we cannot solve this problem alone.

Communities have an absolutely vital role to play in tackling violent crime. I hope our work provides reassurance to our communities.”

Search warrants, traffic-related operations, stop and searches and knife arches were all conducted in an attempt to target public space violence across London; leading to over 500 arrests and 100 weapons recovered.

The Met also created the Divert programme in April 2015. The aim is to divert 18 to 25 year olds towards education and employment opportunities, reduce the number of victims and prevent re-offending.

To a prevent a violent crime from happening, contact Crimestoppers on their website or call 0800 555 111. For information or support with knife crime, visit the #knifefree website.

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