Councillor Ron Mushiso, who represents Chiswick Gunnersbury and is the Conservative Party candidate for the local London Assembly seat, writes about tackling knife crime in Hounslow.
It is February, and once again, families are grappling with the devastating loss of loved ones due to senseless violence. In a recent blog post, my colleague Councillor Gerald McGregor highlighted the tragic murders of Tyreece Scott, fatally stabbed near the Treaty Centre in Hounslow, and 19-year-old Tyler Donnelly, whose lifeless body was discovered in Hanworth Park, Feltham. Such a disturbing sequence of events is simply unacceptable for our community.
It’s understandable that people are feeling a deep sense of anger towards the escalating levels of crime, both in London and right on our doorsteps in Hounslow. Shockingly, knife crime in London has surged by 49%, while sexual offenses and robberies have seen alarming increases of 50% and 45%, respectively. Moreover, the rampant theft of food and goods from our shops has reached unprecedented levels, leaving both shopkeepers and employees feeling unsafe within their own establishments. Astonishingly, more than 2,000 cars are stolen in London each month. All of this has occurred under the watch of our political leader, the Labour mayor of London who oversees the Metropolitan Police as its elected commissioner.
Interestingly, while knife crime has decreased by 5% nationally, London stands out as a stark exception. Despite the UK’s implementation of some of the strictest knife-carrying laws in the developed world, the capital continues to grapple with this crisis. Possession of a knife can result in a sentence of up to four years, and selling any banned weapon, particularly to minors, carries a minimum sentence of two years. The prohibition of weapons such as zombie knives in 2016 and cyclone knives in 2019 has been part of the government’s response to this epidemic.
Just last month, new legislation was introduced to amend the Criminal Justice Act, signalling a tougher stance against those found in possession of knives. The Home Secretary and former London Assembly member, James Cleverly MP announced a brief amnesty period for individuals to surrender illegal knives, aiming to stem the flow of these deadly weapons on our streets.
The question arises: Where is Sadiq Khan in all of this? Where is the leadership we desperately need? Khan has held the reins of London’s governance for eight years, yet our capital seems no safer. He must answer for his failure to meet the promised recruitment quotas for police officers and explain why his focus has shifted towards penalising car owners rather than ensuring the safety of Londoners in their own neighbourhoods. Under his tenure, we’ve witnessed a staggering 1,000 homicides in London alone. Instead of addressing this pressing concern, he appears fixated on revenue-generating schemes like the ULEZ expansion, despite evidence suggesting minimal impact on air quality.
To borrow and adapt a phrase, ‘it’s priorities, stupid’. The mayor’s primary duty should always be the safety and wellbeing of Londoners. True leadership entails utilising every available resource to collaborate with communities and support the families of victims, striving to prevent such tragedies from recurring. The consequences of another four years of this mayor leading our Met Police horrifies me.
Personally, I know the agony of losing a loved one to knife crime, having witnessed the terror of a home invasion by machete-wielding assailants. That trauma lingers daily, and I would not wish it upon anyone else. Let us keep the families of Tyler Donnelly and Tyreece Scott in our thoughts and prayers, and if you have any information, do not hesitate to share it with our dedicated police officers. They need our support to ensure justice prevails.