As the Chief Superintendent of the South East Area Basic Command Unit (BCU) - Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley boroughs - I would like to update you regarding how we did last year and what we intend to do this year in order to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Violent crime has reduced significantly over the past 12 months and the Metropolitan Police is determined to continue to drive it down throughout the forthcoming year. Society is facing an unprecedented challenge and we are all incredibly proud to have stepped up to support our health services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Your frontline officers have faced extraordinary demands and they remained on London’s streets as our communities were urged to protect themselves and others by staying at home.

In London in 2020, there were 126 homicides, compared to 150 in 2019. This is a reduction of 16 per cent. Within our own BCU there were, sadly, 10 homicides (compared to 13 in 2019), all of them adults. Each one of these attacks has devastating repercussions, not just for the victims, families and friends, but also for our wider communities. As a BCU, we are striving to maintain this reduction.

Meet your local Met Police team: PC Iain Thomson

Serious violence (which includes offences such as robbery and knife crime) in London last year, saw an overall total of 56,710 offences, a fall of 26 per cent (19,502 fewer offences) compared to 2019 to 2020.

We saw a potential link between the various lockdown periods and the number of violent crime offences. It’s no surprise that overall offences fell during periods when people were at home and rose as restrictions relaxed.


After lockdown one, between May and October 2020, violent crime offences increased by a monthly average of 17 per cent (or 679 more offences), compared to March and April. Lockdown two, in November, saw a 10 per cent (or 462 fewer offences) decrease compared to October. These falling crime numbers continued into December.

The fall in volume crime means we were able to focus on proactive work. We have taken this opportunity to track down high harm offenders, increase pressure on criminals and gangs, flood violence hot spots with officers and detect those who were intent on leaving their homes and committing crimes.

Meet your local policing team: PC Amasjit Thind

Our officers have been taking part in operational activities, focusing resources on violence, knife crime and those using the road networks for criminality. These activities have led to thousands of arrests and hundreds of knives and firearms being seized from violent offenders.

Locally, there has been the implementation of a Violence Suppression Unit (VSU), a Met strategized division, who focus solely on violent crime in our communities. The VSU is comprised of 1 Inspector, 4 Sergeants, 2 Detective Sergeants, 40 Constables and 5 Detective Constables. They are responsible for targeted covert and overt patrols in high harm areas.

Since its inception in April 2020, the VSU have made 444 arrests, some from pre-planned activity including warrants and others from proactive stops in the street. A majority of those arrests were of high harm and well-known individuals.


Arrests have been made for a mixture of offences including possession with intent to supply drugs, both class A and class B – which we know is linked to violence – violence offences including attempted murder and possession of offensive weapons. There have been seizures of over £100,000 worth of drugs, £95,000 in assets (including cash) and the closure of two large cannabis farms to the value of £1.75 million.

As part of our work we have used stop and search, which is one of many investigative methods that keeps our streets safe by detecting offenders, preventing crime, removing dangerous weapons, and can identify and safeguard vulnerable people being exploited by gangs, for example county lines couriers.

Meet the Recruits: PC Jayden Kamber

I am determined that our focus on violent crime remains throughout 2021. We will continue to divert young people away from violence which, through initiatives such as Lewisham Concern Hub, Greenwich ReSET and Bexley Serious Youth Violence in conjunction with our own SE BCU partnership team. We have already seen more than 1,000 individuals benefit from training, support and guidance.


This year we intend to work more with our communities to build better relationships and understand the issues so that together we can work towards safer communities. Communities do have a vital role to play in tackling violent crime. If you have any information about knife crime, either talk to us or please contact Crimestoppers where your anonymity is guaranteed. It can feel like a hard call, but it could save the life of someone’s loved one.

By working together, we can all help protect our communities.