GUN crime has soared since the national lockdown ended in summer, worried police have confirmed.
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The recent spate of shootings has been driven by criminals in London, though there have been many outside the capital.
On Tuesday last week, a 20-year-old man, believed to have links to the drill rap scene, was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in Telford, Shropshire.
In London, there has been a 25 percent increase in shootings, with 40 lethal gun discharges from September 1 to October 11 – up from 30 on 2019.
A dozen people were shot dead in the capital in 2019 and there have already been 12 gun murders so far in 2020 – nine of them have happened since the initial lockdown ended. Lynne Owens, the National Crime Agency director general, confirmed there are now around 10,000 firearms incidents a year in the UK – a 38 percent rise since 2014.
And London’s top gun crime detective says stamping it out is the force’s top priority.
The latest victim is Shakur Hassan, 23, from Hayes, west London. He was shot in the street on Tuesday night. Two men, aged 31 and 21, were arrested but later released.
Met Police Detective Chief Superintendent Craig Turner, who leads specialist teams probing shootings, said that guns are now being used to settle minor “tit-for-tat” disputes between street gangs.
Leap in gun killings after coronavirus lockdown ends
The recent spate of shootings has been driven by criminals in London
He said: “In most cases, shootings will be linked to gang violence, postcode wars and drug dealing rights. “The people behind them think nothing of using guns to settle scores. They are extremely dangerous and don’t care about the misery and havoc they wreak in communities.
“Bearing down on violent crime remains the Met’s top priority. Officers are being proactive in making London a hostile environment for criminals who use firearms.”
Gun attacks and seizures were commonplace last week.
A week ago, a bullet tore through the front door of a home, terrifying the residents in Colindale, north-west London. No one has been arrested.
On Monday, four men were held and three firearms seized as part of an NCA probe into a crime gang in the Isle of Dogs, east London.
On Tuesday a 29-year-old man was arrested after detectives found £23,000 hidden in his car.A search of a nearby address found a revolver and 12kg of cocaine worth £1.2million.
On Wednesday, a man in his mid-30s was shot in the leg in Romford.
Mr Turner said: “All shootings are investigated by teams which will look to establish the circumstances. Intelligence and forensic inquiries will determine whether they might be linked to other offences.”
Analysis has shown that the same guns are used multiple times as a shortage of firearms forces gangs to rent them from middle-men.
Mr Turner added: “That is why it is so important that we identify and arrest people who hold or have access to guns, and take every opportunity to recover firearms.
“So far this year, the Met has recovered nearly 300 guns.”
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