‘Enormously concerning’: Knife crime statistics show Redbridge was in top 25 worst offending areas in the UK last year

A file image of a person holding a knife. Picture: PA

A file image of a person holding a knife. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Redbridge was one of the country’s 25 worst knife crime hotspots last year, according to figures released by the Metropolitan Police.

Data obtained by Freedom of Information requests by the BBC to police services up and down the country has revealed that knife crime in our corner of east London is booming.

According to the figures released to the BBC by the Metropolitan Police, Redbridge was one of the 25 worst hotspots for knife crime in 2018, with 14.6 knife crimes reported per 10,000 people.

The same figures reveal there were 13.2 knife crimes per 10,000 people in Havering last year - placing it just outside the top 25 worst offending areas.

However, the stats do show that knife crime is in fact growing faster in Havering than in Redbridge.

In the three years from 2016 to 2018 there was a 30pc rise in reported knife crimes in Redbridge.

But in Havering knife crime reports almost doubled, rising by 90pc.

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Keith Prince, London Assembly Member for Redbridge and Havering said the figures for the two boroughs were "enormously concerning".

He added: "These boroughs should be places where hardworking families aspire to live and work, not where local people are growing increasingly frightened of violent crime.

"Sixteen of the top 25 knife crime hotspots are in London, and this speaks volumes about Sadiq Khan's utter failure to get to grips with violent crime.

"What more will it take for Khan to finally take this crisis seriously, cut the millions he's splurging on PR and waste and use the savings to put hundreds more police officers on our streets?

"It's time for the mayor to get tough on crime".

Responding to the knife crime figures, a Home Office spokesman said: "We are taking action to tackle the violent crime which has such a devastating impact on our communities.

"This includes supporting the police by recruiting 20,000 new police officers over the next three years, making it easier for them to use stop and search powers, and investing £10m in additional funding to allow forces to increase the number of officers carrying Tasers."

In August, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan revealed he was investing £1.4million into the capital's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to help them support community intiatives aimed at preventing violence crime.

Mr Khan said: "I am determined to do everything I can to tackle violent crime in our city and that means being tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.

"While I am investing and supporting our hardworking police officers who are targeting violent offenders and removing knives and dangerous weapons from our streets, we know the best time to stop violent crime is before it starts.

"That's why it's vital we invest in our communities because they are in the best position to intervene at a critical moment in a young person's life and the VRU's funding can help provide positive opportunities and role models."

Det Ch Supt Mick Duthie of the Metropolitan Police revealed the service was doing all it could to tackle the issue in the capital, but admitted that the ready availability of knives did make this challenging.

He added: "If someone carries a knife and stabs somebody else, they may not intend to kill them, but that is the reality of what can happen.

"Regularly we get reports a victim suffered a single stab wound. An artery has been cut and the victim bleeds out really, really quickly and dies.

"That's the reality.

"You might be carrying a knife as you are worried that someone is after you and you might want to protect yourself.

"But that is not the way to go about it.

"Carrying a knife and using it will not protect you from prosecution.

"If someone you know carries a knife, they should be made to think about why are they doing this and what is the worst that could happen.

"London is safe compared to other cities, but if we can stop people carrying and using knives, through education, diversion or intervention, we are going to make things safer and I will be a much happier man."