Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been urged to consider a gun crime strategy for the British capital following a steep rise in the number of offenses, and fears that victims and perpetrators are getting younger.
The Metropolitan Police recorded 2,542 gun crime offenses last year, the highest number in five years and 44 percent more than the 1,755 recorded in 2014, according to a report by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee.
In a letter to Khan, Steve O’Connell, the Conservative member who leads the committee, called for more research into where guns come from and what is driving their use, as well as a commitment to publish more detail on gun crime in London.
“The question for you and for [the mayor’s office for police and crime] is whether gun crime, in the same way as knife crime, requires a distinct and specific approach to prevention and intervention, and one that focuses more widely than gang activity,” O’Connell wrote.
Meanwhile, a 21-year-old man on Monday was in hospital in a life-threatening condition after being shot in the head in east London on Sunday night.
Police found the man on Romford Road, Newham, after reports of a shooting just before 10:30pm.
Detectives were investigating, but no arrests had been made by Monday evening.
About a third of the victims of gun crime and almost three in five offenders were aged 25 or under in the 12 months to October last year, according to the assembly’s report.
Drug dealing and gang activity were identified as the main drivers of gun crime, with gangs said to account for nearly half of all offenses where lethal guns — as opposed to non-lethal airguns or stun guns — were fired.
The report also raised concerns about weapons or weapons parts being bought online through encrypted “dark Web” marketplaces.
The supply of weapons from eastern Europe was also said to be a growing concern.
“The supply of guns from abroad being aided by new technology is a trend that needs to be stopped in its tracks,” O’Connell said.
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