Although guns are banned in Britain, the streets of London have become so unsafe that officials are deploying 300 more officers to stop a wave of knife attacks, in addition to calling for tough new anti-knife legislation.
On Thursday, six teenagers were stabbed within 90 minutes, leaving one 13-year-old in critical condition, the U.K. Daily Mail reported.
“Over this weekend we will have 300 more officers each day exclusively working against knife crime, exclusively in those parts of London that have been most affected recently,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said, according to The U.K. Telegraph.
On Saturday, police were called to a north London subway station after a man was stabbed to death there. A 48-year-old woman was taken into custody.
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The New York Times reported that in the first months of 2018, 50 people have been killed in London. In 2017, 116 people were killed. Thirteen people were killed within a two-week span in March.
The police response is being mirrored by a spate of new laws that the British government hopes will reduce the violence, the U.K. Independent reported.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd will propose legislation that bans the delivery of knives bought online to residential addresses.
Further legislation will be developed to completely ban certain types of knives and prohibit the sale of acid to anyone under 18.
The legislation is a “major shift in the government’s response to knife crime and gun crime,” Rudd said, claiming the bills would achieve “a balance between prevention and robust law enforcement.”
“This government has always stood for law and order and to tackle violent crime effectively, robust legislation and powerful law enforcement must be in place,” she said.
“That’s why we will introduce a new offensive weapons bill that includes a new offence of possessing acid in public without good reason, prevents sales of acids to under 18s and stops knives being sent to people’s homes when bought online,” Rudd added.
David Lammy, a member of Parliament from the London metro area, blamed the root of the violence on the fact that, in his opinion, police have lost control of the drug trade.
“What drives the gangs and the turf wars is an 11 billion pound cocaine drugs market,” he told the BBC. In dollars, Lammy’s figure would equal roughly $15.5 billion.
“Drugs are prolific,” Lammy said. “They’re as prolific as ordering a pizza. You can get them on Snapchat, WhatsApp. That, in the end, is driving the turf war; and it’s driving the culture of violence.”
He said children and teens are involved in the attacks because they are the couriers used by gangs to transport drugs.
“I’ve been an MP now for 18 years and I’m afraid what we’re seeing today is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” Lammy said.
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