Knife crime soars in Waltham Forest

Latest figures show large rise in violent crimes using offensive weapons across borough

Seized knives

Weapons recovered by the Metropolitan Police last summer as part of Operation Sceptre, launched in 2015 to help deter young people from carrying knives (credit Met Police)

Violent crimes involving offensive weapons are nearly twice as common in Waltham Forest as they were six years ago, new data shows.

The most recent figures from the Metropolitan Police show there were 218 violent crimes involving weapons such as knives last year, compared to 116 in 2011 an increase of 88 percent.

In September last year there was an average of one such crime being committed in the borough every day, making it the most violent month recorded locally for several years, while in November a series of gang-related attacks left one teenager dead and another seriously injured.

The rate of violent crimes involving offensive weapons in the borough has risen every single year since 2010, with the 22 percent rise between 2016 and 2017 the biggest annual increase in five years. This is despite the overall crime rate reducing over the same period.

In January the London Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, wrote to Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy in response to her recent plea for help with community policing and pledged an additional £184,631 for Waltham Forest Council to fund gang and serious youth violence prevention work.

Sophie Linden, London Deputy Mayor for Policing

Sophie Linden, London Deputy Mayor for Policing

The deputy mayor said: “Specifically in Waltham Forest the MPS [Met Police] has undertaken a problem profile and developed a partnership action plan between the police and local authority which includes targeted enforcement against habitual knife carriers and fugitives, activity to tackle a local organised crime network linked to drug distribution, weapon sweeps, patrols, engagement with schools, referrals into the London Gang Exit service, and more.

“I would be happy to support your call for local housing associations to work in partnership with the police and local council to tackle knife crime.”

Shortly after 18-year-old Kacem Mokrane was stabbed to death in Walthamstow last November, Waltham Forest Council leader Clare Coghill issued a statement to reassure residents. She said: “It is tragic when any life is lost to violence and we would like to offer our condolences to the friends and family of the young man who died.

“After a number of violent incidents in the borough recently, we want to reassure our community the council is working very closely with the Met Police to address residents’ concerns and we will continue to work with our colleagues in the emergency services to ensure our streets are safe. The police are already increasing patrols in the area and we would encourage anyone with information about these crimes to share it with them.”

It was announced last year that Walthamstow Town Centre Police Office would close, leaving Chingford as the only place in Waltham Forest where a crime can be reported in person. Chingford Police Station in Kings Head Hill is located in the ward with the borough’s lowest crime rate, but the decision to save £8million by closing 37 police front counters across the capital was defended by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan as helping to protect front-line policing by “diverting resources” to where they were most needed.