Calls for action after 15-year-old is left with stab wound

No arrests made so far

Friday, 28th January — By Isabelle Stanley and Maddie Baker

Police hat

THERE were calls for more police action on the streets and in schools this week after a 15-year-old was stabbed in South Hampstead.

Detectives opened an investigation on Thursday afternoon after the boy was found injured in Abbey Road and taken to hospital. His condition was described as non-life threatening.

No arrests have been made so far.

According to data from the London Mayor’s Office, in the year leading up to December 2021, 45 people under the age of 24 were injured in knife crime incidents in Camden.

Sangita Chhetri saw a cordon go up on her way home to the neighbouring Rowley Way estate, where she’s lived there for 26 years.

“This never happened before the last few years. People were noisy and things but there was nothing like stabbings and killings,” she said.

“My son is 22 and he goes out at night, he says he’s not scared but I worry for him. I think it’s gotten worse with Covid, when people don’t have anything to do.”

The police say the number of incidents is falling, with a 27 per cent decrease in under-24-year-olds injured last year compared to 2019.

But Ali Hassan Ali, an ex-police officer turned prospective Conservative councillor for West Hampstead, thinks not enough is being done.

Mr Hassan Ali said: “There’s no urgency, we just count the numbers, we don’t think how we can prevent it from happening. It becomes just ‘oh, there’s been another stabbing’. It’s normalised.”

He added: “I’ve seen it and the police do nothing, they’re like a mouse in a corner – but if the councillors put pressure on they spring into action because they want to look good.

“There’s been years of neglect and kids aren’t spoken to in schools. There’s not early interventions.”

A spokesperson for the Met said: “Our plans are strong and officers use a range of tactics from prevention and diversion to enforcement to ensure weapons are taken off the streets.

“These continued efforts are starting to have a positive impact, with a 32 per cent decrease in knife crime across London in the 12 months to September 2020, compared to the same period prior to the pandemic in 2019.

“Despite these reductions, we are not complacent and we know there is more to do. Our determination to tackle violent crime remains strong and we will continue to use every power available to us to serve and protect our communities.”

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