Knife crime: Cressida Dick says violent crime rise linked to policing numbers">
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Cressida Dick on why tackling violent crime is her priority
There is "some link" between falling police numbers and a rise in violent crime, Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick has said.The commissioner was speaking a day after Prime Minister Theresa May said there was "no direct correlation". It comes after two 17-year-olds were killed in separate stabbings in London and Greater Manchester at the weekend. Ms Dick told LBC Radio the deaths show "how big of a challenge this is" and that it is not a London-only issue. Jodie Chesney was killed in an east-London park as she played music with friends, while Yousef Ghaleb Makkie was stabbed to death in the village of Hale Barns, near Altrincham.
Ms Dick also agreed that middle class recreational drug users had "blood on their hands" over recent deaths, adding the drugs trade was a key driver behind street violence.
Yousef Makki and Jodie Chesney, both 17, were killed in separate knife attacks two days apart
Meanwhile, former Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said the government should treat knife crime with the same urgency as terrorism. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said he will meet police chiefs to look at ways to combat violence.
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Speaking about policing numbers, Ms Dick said: "If you went back in history, you would see examples of when police officer numbers have gone down and crime has not necessarily risen at the same rate and in the same way."But I think that what we all agree on is that in the last few years police officer numbers have gone down a lot, there's been a lot of other cuts in public services, there has been more demand for policing, and therefore there must be something and I have consistently said that."I agree that there is some link between violent crime on the streets obviously and police numbers, of course there is, and everybody would see that."
Total knife offences in England and Wales
Offences involving a knife or sharp instrumentSource: Home Office, year ending March except 2017 and 2018 which are year ending September. Figures exclude Greater Manchester.On the issue of drug use, LBC's Nick Ferrari asked Ms Dick: "Is it fair to say, commissioner, that some of these middle class dinner parties that send out for cocaine on the weekend or whatever it might be, they've actually got blood on their hands of some of the people who are dying on the streets?"Ms Dick said: "I think anybody who is not seriously mentally ill, seriously addicted, who is seeking 'recreational' drugs, particularly class A drugs, yes, I think that is a good way to put it, I do."The drugs trade is considered to be one of the key drivers behind street violence - especially so-called county lines networks that target children and teenagers to work as couriers.
'More weapons off streets'
She said that when she became commissioner, tackling violent crime on the streets was her top priority - and it remained so. She said the force was not failing to tackle the issue and was "working incredibly hard". "We are taking more weapons off the streets, we are arresting more people, we are doing more disruptive activity, as well as record numbers in the last few years of stop and search," she said. Ms Dick also noted that the number of homicides in London had fallen, with 20 so far this year compared to 29 this time last year.
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Knife crime
Drug use
London violence
Metropolitan Police Service
Cressida Dick
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