Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

Met police figures show 48% rise in gun crime in London

There were 3,306 gun crimes recorded in London in 2009

Gun crime in London rose by nearly half and rape and homophobic crime rose by about a quarter over the past year, police figures have revealed.

There were 3,306 firearm offences in London in 2009, a rise of 48.7%.

But the total number of crimes fell slightly to their lowest level since 1999, with falls in knife crime, youth violence, robbery and car crime.

Metropolitan Police Commander Maxine de Brunner said: "We recognise there remain challenging areas."

'Grave concern'

Firearm offences include incidents when real or fake firearms are reported as being either seen or used.

The 3,306 firearm offences recorded in London in 2009 compare to 2,224 in the previous year.

A Met spokesman said: "The increase in gun crime continues to be a matter of grave concern and the subject of extensive and significant operational activity."

The force has developed a number of "action plans" to address the problem, including targeting criminals who try to take guns into nightclubs.

There were 2,646 rapes and 1,319 homophobic crimes in London during 2009, rises of 24.2% and 26.9% respectively.

The Met spokesman said its new dedicated Sapphire command unit would "increase accountability and consistency" in its investigation of rape.

A total of 832,439 crimes were recorded in London in 2009, a reduction of 2.3% since 2008.

There were 725 fewer young victims of violence, a reduction by 3.5%, there were 25 fewer victims of homicide - with 130 homicide victims recorded - and knife crime fell by 7.9%.

Ms de Brunner said: "Overall, crime continues to fall, which is great news for London.

"However, the Met is not complacent. We recognise there remain challenging areas, and we continue to tackle those challenges head on."

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