British MPs call for tighter violence control in London as two teenagers die in 24 hours

MPs and campaigners call for tighter violence control in the British capital after two teenagers, a 17-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy, die within 24 hours of each after

A teenage boy was shot and another stabbed in Walthamstow, east London
A teenage boy was shot and another stabbed in Walthamstow, east London

MPs and campaigners have urged authorities to get a grip on violent crimes in London after two teenagers were fatally shot on the same night in the capital.

A 17-year-old girl died first after a drive-by shooting in Tottenham, north London. Police said on Tuesday evening that a 16-year-old boy shot on Monday had died in hospital after succumbing to his injuries.

The deaths took the capital's murder toll for the year so far to 48.

Labour MP David Lammy said the situation was “worse than I’ve ever seen it”. He blamed the rapid growth of the illicit drug economy and cuts to public services for the rising violence.

Tanesha Melbourne-Blake was with friends in Tottenham when a gunman opened fire from a moving car at about 9.30pm on Monday. “The car just pulled up and started shooting,” said a 21-year-old from the area, who did not want to be named.

By the time police and paramedics arrived the victim was surrounded by dozens of people, including her mother, according to witnesses. “She was screaming. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t deserve that. Her mum didn’t deserve to watch her die,” one said.

At the present rate, London could surpass 180 homicides this year, a return to levels last seen in 2005 when there were 181. Last year there were 116 homicides in London, excluding the deaths in the Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park terrorist attacks.

The spate of violence has been met with growing calls for action from victims’ loved ones. Last week the family of Abraham Badru, who was shot as he opened his car boot in Hackney, appealed for an end to “the gun culture [that] is becoming rampant in our community”.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, argued that austerity was responsible for the growth in violence, tweeting: “Government cuts have decimated services for young Londoners.”

The deputy mayor for policing and crime, Sophie Linden, echoed the claim by calling for more government funding for police. But the government insisted the problem was the mayor’s responsibility, with a spokesman for the prime minister saying: “The mayor of London is accountable for the performance of the Metropolitan police.”

Vicky Foxcroft, a Labour MP who has set up a youth violence commission after the deaths of five young people in her Lewisham Deptford constituency, said violence was blighting people’s lives.

“I think we have a lot more violence in society and things are being normalised,” she said.

“If this many young people died at a football match or at a concert we would have an immediate inquiry into what happened,” Foxcroft added. “The government urgently needs to revisit its approach.”

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