We can 'stop murders before they happen' claims crime and policing minister Kit Malthouse


DETECTIVES should be able to identify killers and their victims before crimes happen to get down the country's murder epidemic, the minister for policing claims. Kit Malthouse, Minister of State for Crime and Policing, said tackling murders and youth violence should be the "critical number one priority" for police forces across the country over the next 12 months. Nearly 30 teenagers have been murdered in London alone this year, more than the previous high of 28 in 2008. Mr Malthouse said the government was perplexed as to why the youth murder rate had not fallen, even though the number of them being taken to hospital with knife or gun injuries has. He said: "The reason we have put murder at the top of the tree was because so often when that catastrophic event occurs, there have been signs, signals, things we can learn from, the precursor behaviour from the offences that the individual has committed before. "Don't forget that on average every murderer in this country has seven previous offences and there are signs and signals that we can pick up to help us get ahead. "If you look at domestic murder, critical to our success are patterns of behaviour that point towards that event that we could have, should have, might have seen. "Similarly, the fight against drugs and violence should be suppressing those numbers. "In some parts of the country we aren't seeing that connection. "You would expect, as admissions with a knife injuries starts to fall, that murders of young people, perhaps involved in drugs would also fall and we haven't necessarily seen that and are asking ourselves that question why and whether we need to understand better what the drivers of that particular phenomenon are and then having some conviction about the wider work we are doing to suppress that number." He was speaking to senior police and police and crime commissioners at the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) annual summit in London. He added: "Eighteen of you have got funding on violence reduction units, great long-term work to deter young people away from violence specifically, but also how we can use grip funding, this geographically focussed new approach to hot- spot policing to supress violence and fundamentally get ahead of some of those awful murders that we see too often on our streets. "It is preventable. They are not all ad hoc, lots of them are predictable. lots of murderers are identifiable and I'm afraid lots of victims are also identifiable and accepting that, and that policing in particular can have a role in prevention of murder is critical for us because by looking into the data, understanding what's happened, looking for learning points in every single one, will be the key to success and it is important psychologically for crime overall; that we get back to a situation where we can boats, and it's a shallow boast because every murder is a tragedy, that we have one of the lowest murder rates in the world." He spoke as police forces across the country last week held the national Operation Sceptre to ramp up activity to suppress knife crime and wider violence.

SEIZURE: Knife found by police hidden in a bush in Enfield

A vast range of activity was carried out by officers across the Met, including targeted patrols in violence hotspots; warrants to target high harm offenders; and weapons sweeps in areas known for stashed weapons.

Officers also worked closely with British Transport Police during knife arch deployments at transport hubs, aimed at deterring people from carrying weapons and drugs on the train and tube network. Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology was also used by Met and City of London officers, targeting those carrying and supplying drugs on the roads in and out of London.

Crucially, there was also a focus on education, diversion and prevention, with officers engaging with 10,563 young people; community members and business owners.

In one instance, officers from the north-west Violence and Gang Coordination Hub, alongside a mother who lost her son to knife crime and an ex-offender, engaged with a Pupil Referral Unit to warn students of the consequences of carrying a knife. Following the talks, several young people asked the officers to make referrals on their behalf to external agencies for support in sports activities and apprenticeships.

While conducting community weapons sweeps, local officers worked side-by-side with community members, listening to their concerns and searching for hidden or discarded weapons. Officers, Met Special Constables and Volunteer Police Cadets also carried out 290 retailer visits to educate businesses and ensure they were not – and do not in the future - selling knives irresponsibly.

In total the operation, which ran from Monday, 15 November to Sunday, 21 November 2021, resulted in:

290 knives recovered, 937 arrests, 82 warrants executed, 186 community meetings and educational events, engaging with 1,206 individuals, 264 school presentations and engagements, involving 8,063 young people and 2,745 weapon sweeps.

Superintendent Jim Corbett, who led Op Sceptre for the Met, said: “Knife crime completely destroys victims, families and communities, which is why tackling it is our top priority. “Operation Sceptre is an intensification of the work we already do relentlessly every single day, and officers will continue doing everything they can to target those intent on committing violent crime on our streets, to make London safer. “Suppressing violence needs a holistic approach to deliver long-lasting solutions. I am grateful to all those partners and community members who worked alongside us and joined our efforts. We must all work together – the responsibility lies with us all to create safe communities.”

The Met said its efforts are starting to have a collective impact, with data showing positive reductions across serious violent crime categories. This year to October 2021 (CYTD), compared to the same period prior to the pandemic in 2019, has seen: - Homicides decrease by seven per cent (nine less victims) - Knife crime decrease by 32 per cent (4,105 fewer offences) - Knife crime with injury decrease by 21 per cent (718 fewer victims) - Knife Injury (victims under 25 and non-DA) decrease by 28 per cent (395 fewer victims) - Personal robbery decrease by 44 per cent (13,453 fewer victims) - Personal robbery knife injury decrease by 35 per cent (162 fewer victims) - Gun crime decrease by 36 per (643 fewer offences) - Lethal barrel discharges decrease by 20 per cent (44 fewer offences). The spokesman added: "Despite these reductions, we are not complacent and know there is more to do. Our determination to tackle these crimes remains strong and we will continue to work with our partners, and use every power and tactic available, to serve and protect our communities. "