London

London murder rates 'stabilising', says Met deputy

Handgun Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption The Met's Violent Crimes Taskforce seized weapons during 40 stop and searches across one weekend in April

There are signs the increase in violent crime in London is "stabilising", a senior police officer has said.

Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Helen Ball told the London Assembly that murder rates in April and May were "considerably lower" than in February and March.

More than 60 people have been killed in the capital this year.

Assembly members said ahead of their meeting with Ms Ball that the rise in violence was "deeply troubling".

Ms Ball said although the potential plateau was in "early stages", the suggestion of a reduction in offences was "gratifying" for her officers.

Speaking to the Police and Crime Committee, Ms Ball said: "It looks as if at the moment, the increase of this crime type is stabilising.

"Morale is high because we are starting to see some results."

Steve O'Connell, who chairs the committee, said: "Londoners deserve a safe and secure city where they can live their lives without fear."

Image copyright London Assembly
Image caption The Met's assistant commissioner Helen Ball said the reduction in offences was "gratifying" for her officers

Meanwhile, Met commissioner Cressida Dick told BBC Radio London her force will "continue with the tactics we've been using" to tackle the spike in violent crime.

An extra 28 officers will join the Violent Crimes Taskforce by July, bringing the total number in the team to 158.

The taskforce was set up in April to respond to the spike in murders.

In that month, stop and searches across London were up 10% on average.

Image caption Cressida Dick said she wants to continue the good work of a new taskforce set up to tackle violent crime

Ms Dick said the taskforce has taken hundreds of knives off the street and is "locking people up all the time".

But she added: "You can't expect to look at one month's figures and say 'that's up, that's down, you're failing, you're succeeding'."

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