London gun crime: Southwark among worst boroughs for firearm possession

Kit Heren (09 June, 2021)

Police are hoping to avoid a spike in shootings this summer after lockdown ends, following a series of violent incidents as restrictions eased last year

42958A Skorpion machine gun seized by police this year

Southwark is one of the boroughs where people are most likely to be carrying a gun, according to Met Police figures.

The borough saw 31 instances of gun possession over the twelve months to the end of April – the highest in London in the period. There were seventeen offences for possession of firearms with intent, which was the fourth highest over the same period.

These 48 offences gave Southwark the second highest rate of gun possession overall. Brent was highest with 52, with twenty-six counts of firearm possession, twenty-two incidents of possession with intent and four other gun offences.

Lambeth was third, with incidents of possession, eleven with intent and three other offences, giving a total of 44. Hackney and Newham made up the top five, with 44 and 43 offences respectively over the year.

Southwark’s gun possession rate rose over the past year, despite the Covid-19 lockdowns. From May 2019-April 2020, the borough had 38 instances of people found carrying a firearm.

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The five boroughs with the lowest rate of gun possession over the past year were Kingston-upon-Thames with seven, Sutton with eight, Richmond with nine, Islington with twelve and Hammersmith and Fulham with thirteen.

London saw a spike in shootings last summer after the first lockdown ended. There were no fatal shootings in the capital for nearly six months between November and March this year. But there have been two shootings in south London as restrictions started to ease in recent weeks.

Young mother Sasha Johnson was shot in the head at a party in Peckham last month. Police arrested five men. Cameron Deriggs, eighteen, has since been charged with conspiracy to murder. The other four were released on bail. Ms Johnson remains in a critical condition in King’s College Hospital.

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In Brixton last week a man was shot and stabbed. Police have arrested a seventeen-year-old boy on suspicion of attempted murder.

Officers launched Operation Elie in March in a bid to curb the gun violence and prevent a repeat of the end of the first lockdown last year.

Police have seized 121 guns so far this year, including three submachine guns.

“When the restrictions were lifted last July sadly we saw the highest volume of lethal barrelled discharges since 2018. As we move out of the latest restrictions we have been working hard across London to prevent a similar spike in gun crime to that seen last year…

“Sadly, we’ve seen the murderous impact of guns return to our streets in recent weeks but this has only redoubled our determination to stamp down on gun crime. We created Operation Elie to bring the lessons from last year together with skills and expertise from across the Met and really bear down hard on those using guns in London.”

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