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Mayor meets specialist officers working to tackle violence in Tottenham

Updated: Jun 26, 2023


Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, with Tottenham neighbourhood police. Credit Olivia Opara


The Mayor of London joins specialist Met officers to find out how they are tackling violence affecting young people in Tottenham through enforcement and education.


Today (May 25th), the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, met with specialist Met officers and local community police constables to see first hand the police’s approach to targeted enforcement alongside education and early intervention to steer young people away from violent crime.


The targeted enforcement falls under the Met’s wider Operation Denali which aims to tackle crime in high footfall areas with high volumes of serious violence and knife carrying.


The operation is currently conducted in six London Boroughs: Haringey, Enfield, Croydon, Lewisham, Greenwich and Newham – in which specialist Met Police teams carry out high visibility patrols and activity on high streets and transport hubs.


“The Met’s work in areas disproportionately impacted by violence is making a difference with significant drops in violence and murders," said Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Since launching in January 2022, more than 1,900 arrests have been made and 500 weapons removed from the streets. In Haringey, homicides have fallen by 40 percent, 49 dangerous weapons have been seized and 196 arrests made since Operation Denali began.

The operation has seen the enhanced use of knife arches (metal detectors) and weapon sweeps and 'Stop and Searches' in high footfall areas where most teenage knife-enabled homicides occurs.


The increased implementation of targeted 'Stop and Searches' has raised concerns around whether this apprach actually works and the disproportionate profiling and targeting of Black and Ethnic minority groups.

"The Metropolitan police currently takes between 350 and 400 knives off the streets of London every month," said the Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire, Chris Philip

Between April 2020 and March 2021, there were 7.5 stop and searches for every 1,000 white people, compared with 52.6 for every 1,000 black people -- with a 150 percent cahnce of being targeted.


However, the Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire, Chris Philip, recently defended the use of stop and searches during a consultation in the House of Commons on machetes. The consultation, held on April 18th 2023, debated legislative proposals to tackle the use of machetes and other large knives in crime.



Above is a clip from the recorded Machete consultation in Commons Chamber. This clip has not been altered or edited and full credit belongs to its respected copyright owner(s). This was downloaded from parliamentlive.tv


In his statement, the Minister said: "Knife crime causes misery and fear in our communities, which is why over many years this Government have taken concerted action to tackle it."


"The Metropolitan police currently takes between 350 and 400 knives off the streets of London every month using regular stop and search, so we should be clear that it is an important tactic that keeps our constituents and fellow citizens safe."


Being shown around Tottenham Hale, neighbourhood officers and local community youth workers told the Mayor about the dedicated youth work and enforcement they have been carrying out across the borough – such as the 'Youth Innovation Hub' initiative that was launched last year.


Chief Inspector Rob Ranstead said: “[Tottenham Hale] is a real high footfall location, so for us it is pivital for us to be out and visible and interacting with the community.”


From Left to Right: Reverend Wood, Chief Inspectors Ranstead and Waterfield at Tottenham Police Station. Credit: Olivia Opara

Police youth engagement representatives and Reverend Wood from local community charity, Hope in Haringey, had a sit down with the Mayor at Tottenham police station to hear about the work they are doing together to educate young people on the dangers of carrying knives – with Reverend Wood emphasising the need to “encourage young people to have confidence in the police.”


Hope in Haringey has also been an intermediary between young people and police – helping young people to better engage with the police on a community level.


Targeted operations, such as Operation Denali, are being supported by a record investment from the Mayor which also goes towards positive opportunities for young people in disadvantaged areas – sitting alongside the vital work the Met are doing with local communities, through education and diversionary programmes.


Likewise, the £200 million Youth Endowment Fund which was set up March 2019 by children's charity Impetusto, in partnership with the Home Office, funds innovative diversionary activities ove a ten-year period to futher help keep children across England and Wals safe from crime.


Do you think that enough is being done to tackle youth violence and crime in Tottenham?

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The Met have nearly 500 officers dedicated to youth engagement and diversion who are working in partnership with London’s schools and local authorities to help divert those most vulnerable and at risk from violence away from a life of crime.


Progress has been made in tackling violence and homicides in the capital with the number of murders in London last year falling to its lowest since 2014 and teenage murders reducing by more than 50 per cent compared to the previous year, according to latest MOPAC interpreted Met data.


However, the Mayor still sees “tackling violent crime and keeping all Londoners safe” as his top priority.

The Mayor speaking with Met Officers outside Tottenham Hale Station. Credit: Olivia Opara

The Mayor added: “The Met’s work in areas disproportionately impacted by violence is making a difference with significant drops in violence and murders in these areas and dangerous weapons being removed from our streets.


“But we know we cannot just arrest our way out of violence and that is why education and prevention work is so vital.


“I urge the Government to follow this lead to funding long term solutions to tackle violence so we can continue to build a safe London for everyone.”


To hear from some of the Met and local police officers about Operation Denali, you can watch the news video - shot and produced by me - below:



To keep up to date with all things Tottenham related, follow Olivia on Twitter

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