Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 13:06 UK

Knife death sparks police pledge

Si Ian Blair condemns the "scourge" of knife crime

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has vowed to step up police efforts in combating knife crime in the wake of the death of 16-year-old Ben Kinsella.

Ben, 16, was stabbed in Holloway, in north London, on Sunday. Three youths are still being questioned over his murder. Three others are on bail.

Speaking at City Hall, Sir Ian Blair said the community needed to reach out to teenagers and their parents.

Ben is the 17th teenager to be killed in London since the start of the year.

Everybody is shocked by the level of violence we are seeing, particularly towards young people in London
Boris Johnson, mayor

Sir Ian expressed his "deep sadness" at the death of the teenager and said the death would see police "rededicate efforts to stop others dying".

He expressed the Metropolitan (Met) Police's "absolute determination" to reduce teenage deaths.

"I know the communities of London understand that this is something they and the police have to solve together.

"I promise that the Met is in this for the long haul and we will do everything in its power to stop these murders continuing."

In addition, he re-emphasised his support for the London Mayor Boris Johnson's overall approach to tackling knife crime, but said some factors went beyond policing.

Ben Kinsella
Ben's sister Brooke Kinsella appeared in the BBC programme EastEnders

He added: "We need as the whole community of London to reach out to young people and their parents to help them to get rid of the knives on our streets and provide them with alternatives to crime and gang membership."

He also said he admired those who organised a demonstration in Islington following Ben's death.

Hundreds of teenagers marched through the suburb on Tuesday to protest against knife crime.

Alongside Mr Johnson, Sir Ian unveiled the results of a crackdown on knife crime called Operation Blunt 2 at City Hall.

They revealed that more than 1,200 people were arrested on suspicion of possessing weapons and other suspected knife-related crimes between 19 May and 29 June this year.

A total of 528 knives were recovered as a result of 26,777 searches.

Boris Johnson said Operation Blunt was only one area in which the authorities were working to make London safer.

He said: "Everybody is shocked by the level of violence we are seeing, particularly towards young people in London, and we must all work as hard as we can together to reverse this dreadful trend."

Operation Blunt 2 was introduced by Sir Ian Blair in response to the recent number of killings, particularly among teenagers, in London.




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