Despite a near total ban on guns within its borders, London continues to suffer from violence and crime, with its murder rate recently shooting past that of New York City. Thus, with London's thugs and assorted criminals using knives and other sharp objects as their trade tool of choice, it is only natural that the city's mayor, Sadiq Khan, would move to disarm anyone — law-abiding or not — carrying a knife.
Khan announced that he is deploying several hundred London police in an effort to put a stop to a nasty spate of stabbings across the city. “What you will see over the course of the next few weeks and months … is stop and search based on suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon going up,” he told London's media, with “more arrests as a consequence of this intelligence-led stop-and-search going up and hopefully our city becoming safer.”
Over the past two months London has seen its murder rate topping NYC's, with 15 murders in February to New York's 14, and 22 in March compared to 21 in the Big Apple. And because 31 of London's 2018 murders have been knifings, Kahn is convinced that taking knives away from everyone is the ticket to a safer London, this despite the fact that fact that knives are already severely restricted across the United Kingdom. U.K. law makes it illegal to sell knives to individuals under 18, and everyone else is prohibited from carrying one “without good reason” — except for Boy Scout-style pocket knives with blades under three inches.
Warning all U.K. residents of the crackdown, Kahn recently tweeted: “No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”
In addition to Kahn's crackdown, Britain’s Home Secretary said it will step up its knife control nationally. As reported by the U.K.'s Sky News, that is expected to include beefed-up “stop and search” powers for law enforcement to confiscate both knives and acid (acid attacks are also on the increase across the U.K.), as well as limiting knife purchases online and banning them from being shipped to residential addresses, along with prohibiting knife possession on “further education premises.”
It is interesting to recall that as a candidate for mayor in 2015, Kahn was openly critical of “stop and search tactics,” saying that they allowed police to unfairly target minorities. “Overuse of stop and search can have a dramatic effect on communities,” said mayoral candidate Kahn. “It undermines public confidence in our police if Londoners are being stopped and searched for no good reason.”
Kahn's tweet's on confiscating knives from all Londoners indicates that his views have evolved, and he is no longer concerned about targeting minorities — or anyone else.
David Lammy, a lawmaker for the north London district of Tottenham, one of the areas most heavily hit by violence, noted to the BBC that gangs' drugs and turf wars are among the contributing factors to the violence — which includes firearms deaths, despite the U.K.'s stringent gun-control laws. “What drives the gangs and the turf wars is an 11 billion pound cocaine drugs market,” Lammy told the BBC. “Drugs are prolific. They’re as prolific as ordering a pizza. You can get them on Snapchat, WhatsApp. That, in the end, is driving the turf war; and it’s driving the culture of violence.”
Commenting on the culture of violence that seems to be overtaking London, as it has other major cities, the National Rifle Association pointed out in an editorial: “With all of the talk of further restrictions, harsher enforcement strategies, and additional funding to combat crime in the already heavily regulated and surveilled London, few appear willing to acknowledge that there might just be a limit to the government’s ability to control human behavior.”