Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

JUST [Pounds Sterling]200 FOR A GUN IN LONDON; Yard Chief Reveals Frightening Rise in Weapons on Streets

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

JUST [Pounds Sterling]200 FOR A GUN IN LONDON; Yard Chief Reveals Frightening Rise in Weapons on Streets

Article excerpt

Byline: JUSTIN DAVENPORT

GUNS ARE regularly changing hands in London for only [pound]200, highlighting the frightening spiral in violent crime, says Met Commissioner Sir John Stevens today.

He adds that prices are tumbling because gangs have been importing huge numbers of weapons as they become ever more ruthless.

An astonishing 600 guns are being recovered by police every year, but they admit this might be a fraction of the true number on the streets. For a little extra cash, criminals can even get hold of the fearsome Uzi sub-machinegun.

Sir John says there is clear evidence that gun gangs are spreading across London whereas a few years ago they were confined to a handful of boroughs such as Lambeth, Hackney and Brent. Now police officers are being stationed in countries such as Romania to provide intelligence on drug and gun-smuggling routes into Britain.

The Commissioner spoke out in an interview with the Evening Standard after a fortnight of escalating violence in which estate agent Tim Robinson was murdered outside his Battersea home and a gangster was left dead outside a police station in a bullet-riddled car.

He also announced that an extra 50 detectives are to be redeployed to fight gun crime in the capital. Thirty officers will be seconded to Operation Trident, the unit which deals with black-on-black shootings, while the other 20 will work within the Serious and Organised Crime Group targeting other gun-carrying criminals.

Sir John said: "We have to stem the large number of guns coming in. We know you can buy a gun in London for [pound]200 to [pound]300 now, and that's a frightening situation. The price of hiring or buying a gun has come down because there are more guns circulating. We are having success, we are taking out about 600 guns a year, but that's going up, it's escalating. " He said some of the weapons were " fearsome" Uzi submachine guns, a favourite weapon of the Yardie gangster.

"We have a real problem with the importation of guns and I want to improve our relationship with some of these countries such as the former Eastern Bloc and Jamaica so we have proper intelligence to stop these people coming in not just with guns but with drugs. …

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