Hackney had worst knife crime rate in London, report finds

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL. A general view of a man in a hoodie holding a knife.

"Now it’s every day. It feels like America, not London." - Credit: PA

Hackney had the highest knife crime rate of all London boroughs, a report this month found.

Figures showed that between 2012 and 2019, knife-related incidents in Hackney occurred at a rate of 150 per 100,000 people. Hackney, which saw 350 stabbings across this time, also had the fourth-highest stabbing total, behind Lambeth, Newham and Croydon.

The Knife Crime in the Capital report, produced by think tank Policy Exchange, concluded that police were “losing a battle” against street violence in London.

Hackney youth worker James Cook MBE said: “The figures don’t surprise me. Some people think that Hackney is a new trendy area, but there’s no point in gentrifying it when there’s so much poverty and drug issues around.”

James, who runs youth boxing centre The Pedro Club, has lived in Hackney for 42 years. He said gang violence has increased since he moved to the area.

“Years ago, this was happening every month or every few weeks," James said. "Now it’s every day. It feels like America, not London."

The report claimed the Metropolitan Police put an “unusually” large emphasis on stop and search to prevent knife crime, at a rate that was 5.5 times that of West Yorkshire.

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It said: “We are not against the use of stop and search. The failure of the Met lies in their neglect of other tactics to be used alongside this one.”

The report said that more community policing and targeting of high-profile criminals was needed, particularly because of the disproportional effect that existing strategies had on young Black men.

Alex Murray, the Met’s lead for tackling violence, said: “We believe that the careful use of stop and search saves lives. Every month it removes around 400 dangerous weapons off the streets of London that could well be used in violence. We are taking steps to better listen and respond to concerns around stop and search.”

She added that the report did not account for other police measures against gang crime, such as putting officers in “hot spots” of violence and positive action initiatives to build community trust.

Murray also criticised the report for not using the most recent statistics, which showed that knife crime rates in London dropped by 21 per cent since 2019.

The statistics from the report, which covered April 2012 to September 2019, placed Hackney as the London borough with the joint-fourth highest stabbing total, alongside Ealing and Southwark.