Half of those charged with knife murders in London had committed similar offences

Almost half of people charged with knife killings in London over the past three years had previously committed an offence involving a blade, Metropolitan police figures suggest.
The Met charged 379 people with knife crime homicides between the start of November 2016 and the end of October last year. Of those charged, 173, or 46%, had previously committed a knife offence, according to the Met data.
The proportion of previous offenders charged with knife killings fell from 71% in the year to 31 October 2017 to 37% in the same period in 2018-19.
The chief executive of Barnardo’s, Javed Khan, said: “We need to understand why those involved, including children and young people, carry knives. Often it’s because they are facing a poverty of hope – a future with no qualifications, no job prospects, and no role models, making them vulnerable to criminal gangs who coerce them to carry knives and deliver drugs.
“The new government urgently needs to work with charities, education, health, youth workers, the criminal justice system and local communities to find long-term solutions to break the circle of violence.”
The Met figures come after 149 homicides were recorded in London last year, up from 133 the previous year, despite a fall nationally.
Tory London assembly member Tony Devenish called for changes to the criminal justice system to bring reoffending rates down. “Our prison system needs to both rehabilitate and punish knife crime offenders, which is why the new government is entirely right to reform education in prisons and introduce tougher sentences,” he said.
“With the number of homicides falling outside London but surging within the capital, it is incumbent on the mayor to drop his half-hearted approach to combating violent crime and start doing all he can to make London safe.”
A spokesman for Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said: “Tackling knife and violent crime is Sadiq’s No 1 priority, but it has been made much harder by a decade of austerity.
“Cuts to youth services and the chronic underfunding of police, prisons and rehabilitation services have contributed to violence increasing across the country. It is high time the government realised that you can’t keep the public safe on the cheap.”
Boris Johnson promised during the general election campaign to get tough on knife crime, suggesting that the Tories would bring offenders to court more quickly, “within days, not weeks”.
Latest figures from the Ministry of Justice show that 22,306 knife or dangerous weapon offences were formally dealt with by the criminal justice system in England and Wales in the year to the end of June 2019.


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