More firearms are being seized by the Metropolitan Police in London, U.K. than ever before amid a continued crackdown on violent crime.
A total of 450 firearms were seized in 2020/2021 compared to 366 recovered in the previous financial year. The trend is set to continue with 98 firearms seized in the first quarter of this financial year compared to 92 for the same period the previous year.
The figures were released after Commissioner Cressida Dick joined London Mayor Sadiq Khan on an operation targeting gun crime and gang activity in east London.
Local officers, supported by specialist colleagues, including firearms officers, were targeting those suspected of carrying firearms and being involved in street gangs.
The operation was led by the Met’s Viper teams which include specialist detectives who assess information in fast-time to identify, arrest and disrupt those behind gun violence. The operation, part of work across the capital, followed a night of successful police activity.
In one incident, detectives recovered three firearms, ammunition and drugs after attending a commercial premises in Romford Road, Chigwell. Officers found evidence of the conversion and manufacturing of firearms. Four men, aged 20 to 55, were arrested and remain in custody.
In a second incident, a loaded shotgun, ammunition and four knives were seized after officers responded to reports of a fight in Emerald Road, Harlesden.
Two men, one aged 20 and the second aged 23, were arrested and several knives recovered following a search by officers and a dog unit.
Last month, officers intensified their focus on gangs, offenders who cause the most harm and firearms offenses. A series of arrest warrants, overt and covert patrols and enhanced weapons sweeps took place across London from Monday, July 26.
On the first day of action, officers found 30 stashed shotgun cartridges in the ceiling of a stairwell in Battersea. By the end of the week, 45 warrants had been executed and 45 people had been arrested. Items seized included eight firearms, 55 rounds of ammunition, several zombie knives, a large quantity of both class A and class B drugs as well as stolen vehicles and cash.
In 2021, London has seen the lowest number of lethal barrelled discharges for 10 years, with 114 between January and July compared with 183 for the same time period the previous year.
Commander Dave McLaren, who oversees the Met’s response to gun crime, said: “Since the start of the week of action, we have not had a single lethal barrelled weapon discharged.
“This is unheard of in London in recent years and it just goes to show that the hard work put in by my officers and staff to tackle gun crime, not just in the past week, but in the past months and years, is really starting to pay off.
“We know the public expects us to keep up the pressure on those intent on harm and rely on us to keep them safe from gangs and organized criminal networks. We will keep working to make London a hostile place for the supply and transport of firearms.”