UK Police have described the fall in gun and knife crime during the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns as a ‘silver lining’. Social distancing and lockdown measures have caused a lull in activity and especially knife crimes that had reached an all-time high in 2019. On June 15, it is expected that lockdown measures across the UK will ease and people will be able to move and meet more freely. As the coronavirus lockdown is alleviated, UK police fear that there will be an explosion of violent crimes, such as gun and knife crime.
UK Police: Prepared for the Worst
Police in the UK are braced for an explosion of knife and gun crime as gang rivalries and vendettas that have been brewing during the coronavirus lockdown will erupt onto the streets. This comes following the analysis of a leading criminologist, Dr Simon Harding, director of the National Centre for Gang Research and the University of West London. Dr Harding has said that the trading of social media taunts and drug feuds that have festered during the lockdown were likely to trigger an explosive increase in knife and gun crime. He also claims that there will be an increased rivalry and competition but some amalgamation among country lines gangs. Some gangs may join as a business arrangement.
Gang Violence and Knife Crime in and out of the Capital
Gangs in London may have responded to the risk of being charged for trafficking offences when exploiting youth, known as runners. They have turned to recruiting drug users and, in some instances, had used them to commit violent crimes, including knife crime, on rivals. Outside of London, some police forces have predicted a return to gang tensions. In Birmingham, there have been warnings of a rise in knife crime and violence after rival groups recruited children out of school and may exploit the rising numbers of unemployed youth in the UK.