London faces worst year for teenage killings since 2008, police warn

Seventeen teenagers have been killed in the capital so far this year

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London is “on track” to suffer the worst year for teenage killings in more than a decade if youth violence continues at the current rate, the UK’s biggest police force has warned.

The Metropolitan Police said that knife and gun violence could lead to the highest number of homicides among young people since 2008, when 28 young people were killed.

Seventeen teenagers have been killed in London so far this year, even as serious violent offences declined by 22% and the overall murder rate is down over the past year, the Met said.

Suspects have been charged in 13 of the 17 investigations, in which 15 of the victims were killed with a knife and more than two-thirds were black, the force added.

By May of this year, 12 young people had been killed compared to 14 in the whole of 2020 while in June, three teenagers lost their lives in a single week as a result of knife and gun violence.

Nineteen-year-old Taylor Cox was shot in the head in Islington on June 8 and two days later Denardo Samuels-Brooks, 17, was chased and stabbed to death in Streatham.

Jalan Woods-Bell, 15, was stabbed on his way to school in Hayes last Friday.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.

The Met said it planned to increase the amount of officers on the streets as well as patrols of open spaces, parks, bars and clubs this summer.

There will be “surge activity” in areas “known for serious violence and gang activity” and a robbery operation targeting suspects using e-scooters and mopeds to commit crimes.

The force has urged people in those communities to come forward with information to help prevent violence.

In 2019, the UK saw the highest amount of crimes involving knives in history. The number of overall homicides in London fell from 150 in 2019 to 126 in 2020 but data from the Metropolitan Police showed a rise in the number of domestic killings.

The Metropolitan Police said that while it “understands that some people may not trust police”, it is working to “build those relationships” and show that preventing violence is its “number one priority”.