London Mayor Sadiq Khan is cracking down on the carrying of knives in response to a spate of stabbings that pushed the city’s murder rate past New York’s for the “first time in modern history.”
Khan deployed an additional 300 Metropolitan Police officers over the weekend to work exclusively against knife crime, urging them to be more “confident” in their authority to stop anyone suspected of carrying a weapon.
“What you will see over the course of the next few weeks and months — is what we have seen over the last few weeks and months — which is stop-and-search based on suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon going up, more arrests as a consequence of this intelligence-led stop-and-search going up and hopefully our city becoming safer,” the mayor said Saturday, according to The Telegraph.
Khan also issued a warning to would-be knife carriers, saying they should think twice before bringing one out in public — whatever the reason.
“No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife,” Khan said on Twitter. “Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”
No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law. https://t.co/XILUvIFLOW
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) April 8, 2018
The crackdown on knives comes as London has seen two consecutive months in which the number of murders exceeded New York City homicides, a historically unprecedented occurrence. In February, London had 15 murders, compared to New York’s 14 murders for the month. London again edged New York in March, with 22 and 21 homicides, respectively.
London has among the toughest gun control laws in Britain, which has long mandated strict licensing rules for shotguns and rifles and has effectively banned handgun ownership. The rising tide of murders in London is driven mostly by knife attacks: of the 47 murders in the city so far for 2018, 31 have been committed with knives, Reuters reported.
Stabbings have worsened despite Britain’s already strict knife control laws. U.K. law prohibits knife sales to those under 18 and makes it illegal for anyone to carry a knife “without good reason,” unless it has a folding blade of three inches or fewer.
The British Home Secretary is expected to roll out a new strategy on Monday to combat the wave of knife crime. The measures include legislation prohibiting knives from being sent to residential addresses when bought online and banning possession of a knife on “further education premises,” according to Sky News.
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