Police arrest 500 and seize 130 knives in crackdown on violent thugs

The Met has arrested 500 suspects and seized 130 knives in a series of raids (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive)
The Met has arrested 500 suspects and seized 130 knives in a series of raids (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive)

The Met has arrested 500 suspects and seized 130 knives in a series of raids across the capital as part of a week-long crackdown on violent thugs.

Officers targeted known offenders and obtained warrants to search their homes while setting up knife arches to catch those carrying blades on London transport.

Teams also carried out finger-tip searches of crime hotspots where criminals are known to stash knives.

The Met worked closely with the British Transport Police and hundreds of officers, including special constables and cadets, were involved in the crackdown.

The arrests were made as part of Operation Sceptre which is a nationwide policing response to the scourge of knife crime.

Last year in London 30 teenagers were killed in London with many of those dying from wounds inflicted by blades. As well as detaining suspects and recovering weapons officers went into schools to educate young people about the impact of knife crime on the community and its dangers for them.

There were 88 school visits while officers also spoke to shopkeepers about the importance of them refusing to sell blades that may be used by criminals.

The operation was coordinated by the Met’s Violent Crime Taskforce (VCTF), who manage all London-wide operations focused on tackling violent crime.

Chief Inspector Rob Ranstead, who led the operation, said: “Our mission is to bear down on violence and make communities safer across London – it’s one of our priorities.

“Operation Sceptre is an intensification of the work we already do every single day and officers will not stop doing everything they can to target those carrying weapons on our streets.

“Education and working with young people is one of the key elements around Op Sceptre. It is about raising awareness of the dangers and consequences of knife crime. We hope that people will make the right decision and not carry a knife so we can save lives and help keep our streets safe.’’

He added: “Policing alone can’t solve violent crime and I am grateful to all those partners and community members who worked alongside us during this activity and joined our efforts.”

Met Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has previously said he wanted to bring the number of homicides in London down to below 100 a year, from 130.

The Met’s Violence Reduction Unit is working with the homicide squad to bring numbers down. It is estimated that every murder costs London £800,000 including legal costs to bring killers to justice.