An east London police chief has said tackling knife crime in Havering is “a priority for our officers”, after a month in which the highest number of incidents were reported for nearly four years.

The growing problem of knife crime in Havering was revealed by the Recorder in November last year, when we wrote how, over the previous 12 months, incidents in the borough had risen by almost 30 per cent, double that of neighbouring boroughs.

More recently, in the first two months of this year, the Met Police dashboard recorded 45 instances of knife crime in Havering, consisting of 14 in January and a huge 31 in February – its highest in a month since April 2019. 

This is more than double the 22 instances recorded for January and February last year, with the dashboard noting how reports of knife crime in the 12 months ending February 2023 were up 39.2pc on the previous year, ending February 2022. 

Among crimes the Recorder has reported on in recent months were a student being stabbed in Ardleigh Green, three teenagers being hospitalised with stab wounds in Romford, and two men seen fighting with what looked like knives near Gallows Corner

Ch Insp Chris Nixon, of the East Area BCU, which covers Havering, told this paper that knife crime “not only affects the victim, their family and friends, it creates fear in our communities”. 

Describing tackling knife crime as “a priority”, Ch Insp Nixon said the force has adopted “a variety of covert and overt tactics” to try and reduce numbers. 

These include ensuring officers are patrolling around the Ardleigh Green college campus and Romford town centre, running a passive drugs dog operation in Romford train station, and implementing stop-and-search methods and dispersal zones. 

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Ch Insp Nixon points towards recent successes including two arrests made last week, after the Havering Joint Taskforce was alerted to weapons being hidden in Elm Park, following which they found a machete and a samurai-type sword. 

A public street briefing was also held in South Street on March 2 to discuss the issues around violent crime, and 20 stop-and-searches were carried out last week in Romford town centre, resulting in five arrests and finding drugs and a knife.

“We are committed to disrupting and deterring violence from the streets of Havering," Ch Insp Nixon said.