Cuts to police and youth ‘linked to rising crime rates’

London’s crime rate continues to rise as the Metropolitan police struggles with numbers.

The total number of murder victims in the capital reached 63 on 6 May, overtaking New York’s murder rate, following a surge of 44% in homicides.

Harrow MP Gareth Thomas said his area has seen 173 officers taken off the streets since 2010, putting a strain on the police resources.

This follows a cut of £600m from the Met Police’s annual budget and a decline in police numbers, according to a Home Office report.

Thomas said: “The recent spike in crime can only be evidence that the Met’s capacity is greatly reduced.”

In a similar way, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners has said falling police numbers were a concern in the rise of crime rates.

The figures, released in January, show cuts to youth initiatives and a historic low of police numbers with reductions of more than 20,000 police officers across the country.

The Serious Violence Strategy launched by the government last month doesn’t make mention of that and instead puts the focus on social media activity and the role of local communities to prevent crime.

A series of shootings over the Bank Holiday weekend put a spotlight on the rising crime rates. The latest fatal victim is Rhyiem Ainsworth Barton, a 17-year-old who died of gunshot wounds in Southwark on the evening of 5 May. He was shot while playing football and died at the scene shortly after he was found.

Another incident followed the next day in Harrow, where a 15-year-old and a 13-year-old were shot in Wealdstone High Street in Harrow within minutes of each other. The two are now recovering from their injuries.

Moped crime has also seen record numbers in the capital. According to a BBC investigation, it has increased 30 times in five years with 40% of incidents happening in Camden and Islington. Transport hubs are considered hotspots for crime as people are usually distracted around these areas.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has recently announced a city hall investment of an extra £110m for the Met and a £45m youth fund to prevent more violent crimes.


Featured image by Paul Townsend on Flickr.

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