Thousands of knives seized by Police Violent Crime Taskforce

Police officers at an incident | Hillingdon Today

The Violent Crime Taskforce has taken a staggering 3,148 knives off the streets, and made more than 16,800 arrests since it was launched four years ago.

The taskforce, funded by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, is a team of specialist officers whose purpose is to drive down violent crime and robbery. They are deployed into areas at greatest risk of violence outbreaks, so they can support and protect the communities who need them the most.

The unit also lead and manage London-wide operations focussed on tackling violent crime, including Operation Sceptre which begins today (16 May). This national knife crime operation will see officers across the capital ramp up their activity to prevent knife crime and target high-harm offenders and those carrying weapons.

Since their launch in April 2018, and up to April 2022, the taskforce alone has achieved great successes, including:

16,812 total arrests for possession of firearms, knives, offensive weapons and drugs;

3,148 knives taken off the streets;

696 firearms seized;

2,008 offensive weapons recovered;

15,369 other seizures including drugs;

340 mopeds/scooters;

2,896 vehicles seized;

22,976 weapons sweeps.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lee Hill, who leads the VCTF, said: “The VCTF is full of highly-skilled and specialised officers who are absolutely critical in our efforts to tackle violence and robbery head on. They are an agile team and flex across London depending on where they are needed the most.

“VCTF officers are often the first on scene to horrific violent incidents and see how it destroys the lives of victims and their families. This is exactly what motivates officers to remain dedicated and focussed on stopping violence from happening in the first place.

“As we approach the summer months, the VCTF and officers across the Met will continue using every tactic they can to crack down on violent crime, while also working with partners to target the root causes of these devastating crimes.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m proud to have funded the establishment of the Met’s Violent Crime Taskforce, which is working around the clock to target the most dangerous offenders and to bear down on violence across our city.

“I’m determined to continue being tough on crime and tough on the complex causes of crime. Thanks to record investment from City Hall, the Violent Crime Taskforce has removed more than 3,000 knives and 2,000 other weapons from our streets and has helped to deliver an 11 per cent drop in knife crime with injury and a 30 per cent drop in gun crime since May 2016.

“I’d like to pay tribute to all the brave police officers who have served as part of the new taskforce for their excellent work helping us to drive down violent crime and make communities safer across London.”