Teen stabbings in London have ‘ferociousness’ like never before, Sadiq Khan warns

It comes as the city had its deadliest year for teen murders in a decade, with 28 teenagers killed so far in 2021 - just one death fewer than the all-time record in 2008.

Teenage stabbings in the capital are at a new level of “ferociousness”, mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned.

The numbers of teenage homicides has been described as “horrific” and “a pressing emergency”.

Mr Khan said: “These are children losing their lives.

“What we’ve experienced is heartbreaking when we listen to trauma experts … the ferociousness of the stabbings now, which is different to what it was in previous years.”

Speaking at a Q&A session with Dame Cressida Dick at the London Assembly, Mr Khan said despite the deaths, there was a fall in youth and knife crime in general.

He told the Assembly six out of 10 homicide victims were black, and 70% of victims had previously been in A&E, which he said was key to “turning them around” and saving lives.

While the Met Police commissioner said racial disproportionality in teenage murders in the capital was a “pressing emergency” for the force

Dame Cressida said she felt “tremendously strongly” about tackling violence which disproportionately affects young black men across London, describing it as “really shocking”.

She said: “It is a pressing emergency for our city. I feel so strongly about this.

“I find it heartbreaking as someone who has lived and worked in this city since the early 1980s that we have these challenges.

Victims of homicides aged between 14 and 25 are 97% male and 72% black, Dame Cressida said.

“You are 12.2% more likely if you are a young black man than a young white man to be a victim,” she explained.

“Just as an example, you are 20 times more likely to find black perpetrators of discharge of firearms.”

Susan Hall GLA Conservatives leader. Credit: London Assembly

However, she said this figure was also at its “lowest level since 2010”.

She continued: “I have extra officers in those areas, some of whom are thought to be there not to protect. It reduces people’s view of the competence of the authorities.

“I feel tremendously strongly [and] I don’t want to label or stereotype in any way at all.

“There is much more to be done in terms of working with families and communities in some of our most disadvantaged communities.”

Susan Hall, leader of the Greater London Assembly (GLA) Conservative group, said: “Teenage murders are up at their highest rate since 2008, with 28 young people so far slain in 2021.

“That is absolutely horrific for all of us. It makes up at least half of the teenage homicides in the whole of the UK and the disproportionality of crime in the black community is terrifying.

“If I was a black mother I would be so worried about sending my kids out.”

Ms Hall added: “I am horrified by these figures.

“No one wants to talk about any particular group and that is wrong. Those poor black families need help.”