Nearly half of shootings investigated by Britain’s biggest police force unsolved

Detectives said that fear, and shot gang members wanting to get their revenge, stop key witnesses from co-operating.

Nearly half of shootings investigated by Britain’s biggest police force go unsolved, figures show.

The proportion of Metropolitan Police cases that end with an offender facing prosecution has hit 52%, which is the highest rate in 11 years, but leaves 48% unsolved.

Detectives believe this is partly due to fear preventing witnesses coming forward or sharing vital evidence including doorbell footage, and the fact that some victims want to get revenge themselves rather than co-operate with the police.

Commander Paul Brogden said: “It comes down to trust within our communities, we need the communities to trust us with evidence, trust us with handling Ring doorbell footage, CCTV access.

“People are worried, people are frightened, victims are frightened and often are reluctant to come forward.

“We encourage them to trust us, we will keep them safe.

“While our outcome rates have improved, there are 48% that we haven’t managed to solve.”

He said detectives have “long memories” and will investigate for years, especially if there is a linked series of shootings.

Detective Superintendent Victoria Sullivan, a specialist crime officer based in south-east London, said: “Often the victim themselves who’s been shot do not want to divulge to police and that might be because they’re seeking retribution themselves.

“So potentially today’s victim could be tomorrow’s suspect. And that’s why it’s really important that we act really, really quickly to try and dissolve that situation.”

Around half of shootings in London are believed to be linked to gang crime.

There was widespread shock after a nine-year-old girl was critically injured in a shooting in Kingsland High Street last month / Credit: James Manning/PA

Gang links are a key line of inquiry in the shooting of a nine-year-old girl in Hackney last month who remains critically ill in hospital after she was caught in a hail of bullets while out for dinner with her parents in Hackney.

The Met says the number of incidents where a gun is fired, termed lethal barrelled discharges, is at its lowest for 15 years, having dropped from 196 to 145 since March 2023.

Firearm killings have also fallen year on year for the last three years – from 12 in 2021/22 to 10 in 2022/23, eight in 2023/24, and there have been two so far this year.

An increasing proportion of the shootings that do occur involve converted blank firearms, originally designed for non-lethal purposes such as bird-scaring, that are converted into deadly weapons.

Around 46% of the 386 weapons seized by the Met last year were converted blank firers.

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