Senior Met police officers travelled to New York last month to see how the NYPD tackles serious gang violence, the Standard can reveal.
Representatives from Scotland Yard as well as City Hall flew to America for five days to observe the work of the New York Police Department, as the Met fights a violent crime epidemic in the capital. During their trip the group saw the NYPD’s high-tech crime-fighting tools, innovations in justice and alternatives to jailing offenders.
The visit came after Sadiq Khan announced a major policy shift to adopt a “public health” approach to stop the wave of knife killings in London. The Mayor is setting up a specialist Violence Reduction Unit to tackle gangs and help teenagers escape crime.
During the US visit, from November 6 to 10, London’s deputy mayor for policing Sophie Linden met senior NYPD officials. She was accompanied by a member of the Met’s digital policing team and two officers involved in tackling violence. Rebecca Lawrence, chief executive of the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime, was on the trip too.
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, who visited the NYPD on her first official trip after being appointed last year, told a meeting of the London Councils group this week: “When you talk to New York, my goodness they’ve really got some of their things going, you know … razzmatazz with the public in the last couple of years that wasn’t there before.
“People are really engaged with programmes who wouldn’t have been before.” The envoys visited NYPD’s Real Time Crime Centre where teams of investigators dig through social media profiles after a crime is committed looking for clues and evidence. Their work has tracked down suspects in murder cases involving gangs in the Bronx and bank robbers in Manhattan.
The London team also visited a youth centre, a gun violence prevention programme and an initiative that places young offenders in residential facilities near their homes as opposed to prisons hundreds of miles away.
Statistics early this year suggested the murder rate in London had overtaken New York for the first time in modern history, although the latest figures show the number of murders in New York is now double that of London.
The capital has seen at least 127 homicides, which includes murder and manslaughter cases, with 72 fatal stabbings and 14 shootings among them. Knife crime in London has risen to its highest-ever level, with nearly 15,000 offences during the past year.
Earlier this year former New York police chief Bill Bratton told the Standard the Met had fallen behind the NYPD in law-enforcement technology.
Ms Linden said: “It is important we share ideas and learn from other major cities.”