8 Apr 2012

London murder rate drops

9:03 am on 8 April 2012

London's homicide rate has fallen steadily over the last decade, figures from the Metropolitan Police show.

While there were 222 homicides in 2003 in the capital, the number had dropped to 117 by 2011.

The latest available figures, from April 1 last year to March 26 this year, show 101 homicides committed in the city during that time.

The declining homicide rate has been attributed to a combination of successful crime prevention work and the response of paramedics and other medical staff treating stabbing and shooting victims.

In the past, the role of paramedics was to collect the victim and transport them straight to hospital, but they are now trained to deal with injuries at the scene and begin treatment as soon as they reach the victim's side.

Where previously victims would be taken to the nearest casualty ward as a matter of course, they can now be taken to major trauma centres where expert clinicians treat patients around the clock, boosting their survival rate.

London's air ambulance is also able to transport victims to hospital speedily and blood transfusions can now be performed by medics at the crime scene.

Scotland Yard praised police and community efforts to keep crime down.

Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, head of the Metropolitan Police Service Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: "While one murder is one too many we hope people will see this downward trend as a positive sign of a city that is a safe place to visit, work and live."

The Met has grown in size in recent years, while the area it covers has shrunk.