Police officers praised for removing almost 250 dangerous weapons from London’s streets


Local London Assembly Member Unmesh Desai has praised the efforts of the Metropolitan Police after they removed almost 250 dangerous weapons from the capital’s streets during Operation Sceptre Week.

Mr Desai said that officers deserve “huge credit” for their “sustained” work to tackle violent crime throughout the pandemic.

The initiative, which ran from 9-15 November, saw police officers conduct over almost 3,000 sweeps across London to find hidden knives and other offensive weapons, and resulted in over 1,000 arrests.

This enforcement action was balanced with an early intervention programme of officers delivering knife crime presentations in schools and engaging with businesses over the issue.

In the midst of Operation Sceptre Week, the Mayor revealed his Action Plan which seeks to rebuild trust and confidence in community policing, particularly amongst BAME Londoners.

The Met Police has signed up to implementing the report’s comprehensive list of recommendations, which include a target of ensuring 40% of all newly recruited officers are from BAME backgrounds by 2022.

In addition, the Action Plan aims to provide officers with enhanced training and to give communities a more central role in monitoring the use of police powers and tactics.

Last month, Mr Desai released his Policing with Consentreport which also addresses these issues and makes similar recommendations.

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He is now renewing his calls upon the Government to provide more financial support to the Met Police during the pandemic.

According the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime (MOPAC), by 2022, the Met Police will have been required by Ministers to have made more than £1 billion worth of savings from its budget since 2010.

Mr Desai said: “Operation Sceptre has continued to yield some remarkable results in the fight against violent crime. Our overstretched police officers deserve huge credit for their sustained efforts to rid our streets of dangerous weapons, even amidst the pandemic.

“Whilst this week-long period saw an intensified programme of weapon sweeps and targeted operations, these activities and early intervention initiatives will continue throughout the year.

“Alongside this, the Met will also be undertaking the vital work of implementing the recommendations of the Mayor’s new policing Action Plan to rebuild trust and confidence in the communities they serve to protect.

“Underpinning all of this is the need for the Government to support our officers during the pandemic by repairing the hole it has left in the Met’s budget over the last ten years, which is now approaching £1 billion.”

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