London knife crime is so bad council officers say they have discovered knives hidden in west London playgrounds, writes Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Reporter.
Hammersmith and Fulham’s law enforcement team have been checking beneath roundabouts and in bushes for weapons and drugs to try and crack down on crime.
One law enforcement officer told BBC London that they sometimes find knives stuck underneath play equipment on routine weapon sweeps.
Last year, Hammersmith and Fulham council hired a 72-staff crime team to help prevent anti-social behaviour when police funding was cut.
The team is the first of its kind and recently discovered a huge six-inch kitchen knife on the White City Estate.
After finding the weapon, an enforcement officer said: “We’re glad we found this as it can be taken off the streets.
“It may have been used in some criminal activity or gang-related activity, but we won’t know that until it is handed into the police.”
The weapon will now be handed to the Met Police for fingerprinting before being destroyed.
Residents have also witnessed drug dealing in the open, according to Hammersmith and Fulham council.
The council’s enforcement team recently searched around Wormholt Park Primary and Phoenix Academy, and they have been knocking on residents’ doors to find out about anti-social behaviour in the area.
Law Enforcement Team officer Ian Baron said: “We’re working hard to take these weapons off the street.
“Removing even just a handful of weapons can make a huge difference.”
Council leader Stephen Cowan said: “We set the law enforcement team up in the summer because police numbers were down and crime was up across the UK.
“We simply weren’t prepared to tolerate the increase in crime anywhere, let alone Hammersmith and Fulham.
“So far they have had 35,000 interactions where they have closed down anti-social behaviour and they are a real part of our force.”
Picture: generic pic of weapons