Camden’s top police officer has said knife crime is the force’s “number one priority” following last month’s fatal stabbing of two young men.
Chief Superintendent Nick Davies, borough commander for Camden and Islington, was being quizzed by councillors last night (15 March) at a meeting of the council’s culture and environment scrutiny committee.
He said the borough has seen an increase of knife crimes to 556 in 2017 and pledged to tackle the problem, saying: “We can’t have young people going round sticking knives into each other.”
The meeting follows the murders of Abdikarim Hassan, 17, and Sadiq Aadam Mohamed, 20, who were stabbed to death on 20 February in Kentish Town and Queens Crescent respectively.
Three teenagers, Ben Drummond, 18, Isaiah Popoola, 18, and an unnamed male aged 17, have been charged with the murders as part of an ongoing police investigation.
“We need to get upstream on this”, said Chief Superintendent Davies at the meeting. “I do not want us to keep having these conversations.
“We have got one of the best, biggest gangs teams in the area. We have arrested three people. We’re going to be arresting a number of other people in the coming months.”
He said police are targeting the leadership level of gangs in order to address the problems of knife violence and drug dealing.
“This is the officers’ number one priority”, Chief Superintendent Davies added. “We can’t have young people going round sticking knives into each other.”
He also answered questions about homelessness, drugs, begging and anti-social behaviour, and was joined on the panel by Jessica Gibbons, Camden’s director of community services.
The scrutiny meeting started 45 minutes late and was nearly cancelled because not enough councillors on the committee had turned up.
As the borough commander sat waiting, committee chair Cllr Awale Olad was eventually able to reach fellow Labour councillor Heather Johnson, who sped over to the Town Hall and the meeting went ahead.
Others attending were Cllr Nadia Shah, cabinet member for safer neighbourhoods, Cllr James Yarde – both Labour – and Cllr Stephen Stark, a Conservative for Hampstead Town ward.
Cllr Rishi Madlani, Labour, arrived after the meeting had begun.
Those missing were Cllr Douglas Beattie, Cllr Sue Vincent – both Labour – and Cllr Gio Spinella, the leader of Camden’s Conservatives.