Knife crime has ‘peaked’ says Met Police’s head of gangs team

Detective Inspector Will Lexton-Jones

Detective Inspector Will Lexton-Jones - Credit: Harry Tay;pr

The Head of Camden and Islington Police’s gangs team has said he believes knife crime in the area has peaked, during a public meeting on knife crime on Tuesday.

Detective Inspector William Lexton-Jones, Head of Central North Police’s Gangs Team also told the Camden Safer Neighbourhood Board meeting he believed the rise was because of a disruption in the drugs market in Camden Town and Camden Lock.

He said: “I think we have gone past the peak of this issue, we’ve seen knife violence and crime being reduced. Other areas, such as Islington have had an incremental increase over time, whereas Camden has had a much sharper rise.

“The disruption of a drugs market is the reason why serious violence will increase.”

Nathalie Stewart, who has previously been Westminster’s representative on the community monitoring network of stop-and-search, said the rise was in part because of more teenagers getting involved in crime. “Knife crime is going up because young people are getting much more involved in violent crime than they did 10-15 years ago.”

The meeting heard from Camden Youth Offending Service’s Eugene Griffin about the role of social media. He said it is often used by gang members to provoke rival gangs and escalate situations.

He said: “A lot of the goading that might happen from a rival gang comes on social media. They can’t be seen to lose face.

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“Social media is a major factor in more than 80per cent of stabbings.”

There was a discussion about the use of stop-and-search, the controversial method used to search people the police suspect of being involved in crime, or are about to commit a crime.

According to Det Insp Lexton-Jones, it now has an effectiveness rate of 33pc. He said: “We have identified people who have a history of carrying knives, many of them who reside on the gang matrix and they’re the targets.”

The meeting also heard from Karoline Bober, senior service delivery manager for Victim Support, and acting borough commander for Camden and Islington, Chief Superintendent Nick Davies.