Seizure of £101m in criminal cash helps fight against violent crime

Police have seized £101 million in criminal cash as part of a crackdown on violence on the streets of London, Britain’s most senior officer has said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick also credited a 30% increase in stop and searches for a drop in violent crime in the capital over the past 12 months.

Ms Dick was speaking at Scotland Yard as new figures revealed killings in the capital were down by a quarter and injuries from stabbings among the under 25s was down by 15%.

The officer said efforts to combat violent crime had been stepped up over the past year and the force was now seeing “real progress”.

She said: “My key metric has always been injury to under 25s, especially on the street, and we have 15% less, 311 less young people stabbed.”

Ms Dick said there had been 172,000 stop and searches in the last year which had proven “very effective” and resulted in the confiscation of knives and guns every day.

Offences recorded by Metropolitan Police
Offences recorded by Metropolitan Police

The seizure of some £101 million of criminal cash was up 50% on the previous year, she said.

“We know that has a big impact on criminality. We know that if we target the money that takes us back to the drugs and guns.”

She added: “I am confident that we will continue to step up our efforts and continue to make real inroads into these pernicious crimes.”

Ms Dick said the reasons for the drop in violent crime were complex, but the drugs markets were a “big problem”.

She said: “There is a large demand, there is big money to be made and there is a lot of fights going on between drug gangs. Those young people have either been the victim or the offender or both.

“But there is a whole range of other issues that have played into this. I believe we are suppressing the violence. That has absolutely, definitely resulted in the reduction.”

Over the past 12 months, there were 122 homicides recorded by the Met, with 32 fewer victims than the period before, excluding the nine killed in terrorist attacks in 2017.

Stabbings accounted for 69 killings and ten involved guns.

The majority of victims were male – a total of 83 compared with 37 women.

The largest number – 50 – were of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity, followed by white Europeans with 44.

Sajid Javid in Brixton
Sajid Javid in Brixton

There were 14 Asian deaths, seven Mediterranean-looking Europeans and two Arabian or Egyptian, the figures showed.

The data also showed a reduction in other types of violent crime in the capital.

Knife-related injuries among under-25s reduced by 15%, from 2,079 to 1,768 young people.

Knife crime with injury across all ages was down by 10% and gun crime by 6.8%.

Moped-enabled crime dropped by more than half – 52.3% – to 11,390 – and acid attacks were also down by 30%.

But knife crimes, including possession of a blade, saw a slight increase of just over 0.5% to 14,843.

Ms Dick was speaking just hours after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death and a 16-year-old boy injured in Hackney, east London.

Referring to the most recent death, she said: “The figures, put into the context of what happened overnight, can seem rather bald and cold and unemotional.

“Each death is absolutely ghastly. Each young man stabbed is a horrible thing for them, their family, friends and community and for the person who did the stabbing, often it wrecks their lives as well.”