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Westminster knife crime: 52% increases worries borough medical staff

PUBLISHED: 08:14 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:15 12 July 2019

A knife arch between Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus Tube stations in London. Picture: PA

A knife arch between Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus Tube stations in London. Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Knife violence in Westminster has gone up by 52 per cent in the last year - compared with 1pc in London as a whole.

And a fifth of people caught up in knife crimes in here were injured last year, with a total of 199 receiving medical attention, according to police statistics.

The stats were revealed at a meeting of the town hall's joint health and wellbeing board - which it shares with neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea.

The board is looking at ways to help keep young people safe as London grapples with a city-wide rise in murders involving under-25s.  

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Dr Asif Rahman, the A&E clinical lead at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, told the meeting that one young boy has turned up to five different A&Es across west, central and south London with injuries.

Dr Rahman called for a joined-up approach to help young people who may be "on the edge" because they feel they have to look over their shoulder.

"Intervening early" is crucial added Dr Neville Purssell, who chairs Central London CCG.
John Poyton, chief executive of Red Thread youth intervention charity, which is working with medical staff at St Mary's Hospital, said: "Young people do not want to wait until they are being victimised and exploited."
He said many of them have visited A&E four or five times before they appear with a knife wound.
Nearly half of the people injured in incidents in Westminster were young people under 25, according to the latest statistics presented to the health and well-being board.
The meeting came a week after Westminster Council and the Met Police held a joint "day of action" targeting knife crime.

On June 27, police operated a number of strategically-placed "knife arches" and conducted weapons sweeps, while trading standards staff targeted retailers in a bid to take knifes off the streets.

Cllr Ian Adams, the town hall's lead on community safety, said: "We share our residents' concerns about the growing trend in knife crime across London, especially given so many young lives are being affected by it."

Ch Insp Andy Brittain added: "Tackling knife crime remains our number one priority and it is great to see our key partners working together to help prevent the carrying of knives here in the heart of London."

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