‘Fear or revenge’ hinder shooting investigations, says Met Police

Forensic officers in Hackney near to the scene of a shooting where a child was wounded
Forensic officers in Hackney near to the scene of a shooting where a child was wounded - James Manning/PA

Nearly half of shootings investigated by the Metropolitan Police go unsolved, figures show.

The proportion of cases that end with an offender facing prosecution has reached 52 per cent, which is the highest rate in 11 years, but leaves 48 per cent unsolved.

Detectives believe this is partly due to fear preventing witnesses coming forward or sharing vital evidence including doorbell footage, and the fact that some victims want to get revenge themselves rather than cooperate with the police.

Commander Paul Brogden said: “It comes down to trust within our communities. We need the communities to trust us with evidence, trust us with handling Ring doorbell footage, CCTV access.

“People are worried, people are frightened, victims are frightened and often are reluctant to come forward.

“We encourage them to trust us, we will keep them safe.

“While our outcome rates have improved, there are 48 per cent that we haven’t managed to solve.”

He said detectives have “long memories” and will investigate for years, especially if there is a linked series of shootings.

Det Supt Victoria Sullivan, a specialist crime officer based in south-east London, said: “Often the victim themselves who have been shot do not want to divulge to police and that might be because they’re seeking retribution themselves.

“So potentially today’s victim could be tomorrow’s suspect. And that’s why it’s really important that we act really, really quickly to try and dissolve that situation.”

Some of the firearms surrendered  during an amnesty
Some of the firearms surrendered during an amnesty. Met Police prosecution of shooting offenders has reached 52pc - Dominic Lipinski/PA

Around half of shootings in London are believed to be linked to gang crime.

Gang links are a key line of inquiry in the shooting of a nine-year-old girl in May who remains critically ill in hospital after she was caught in a hail of bullets while out for dinner with her parents in Hackney.

The Met says the number of incidents where a gun is fired, termed lethal barrelled discharges, is at its lowest for 15 years, having dropped from 196 to 145 since March 2023.

Firearm killings have also fallen year on year for the last three years – from 12 in 2021-22 to 10 in 2022-23, eight in 2023-24, and there have been two so far this year.

An increasing proportion of the shootings that do occur involve converted blank firearms, originally designed for non-lethal purposes such as bird-scaring, that are converted into deadly weapons.

Around 46 per cent of the 386 weapons seized by the Met last year were converted blank firers.

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