New Zealanders' OE at risk as London streets face 'wave of murders'

  • 05/04/2018

Kiwis travelling to London for their traditional OE could be in danger after a "wave of murders" on London's streets.

That's the description from the Daily Mail, which says a "deadly crime epidemic" has gripped the capital.

Murder figures have grown by nearly 40 percent in three years. So far the Metropolitan Police has launched 50 murder investigations this year - double the number during the same period in 2017. It's sent the homicide rate higher than New York for the first time in history.

If murder rates continue at current trends, over 180 people could be killed this year, a level not seen since 2005.

And there are fears that Kiwis could be in the firing line - literally. UK statistics record around 60,000 New Zealanders live in Britain - and about 30,000 reside in London.

As well as the risk of violent crime, last year saw several terrorist incidents including the London Bridge attack which killed seven people, the Manchester Arena blast, and the 2017 Westminster attack.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says Kiwis are "advised to be vigilant".

"There is some risk to your security in the United Kingdom due to the threat of terrorism and we advise caution," it warns.

"The United Kingdom authorities currently assess the threat level as 'severe' (level four on a five level scale). This means United Kingdom authorities assess the likelihood of a terrorist attack in the UK as 'highly likely'."

The violence has been blamed on funding cuts to social services. The Daily Mail reports officers are quitting "in droves" due to their overwhelming workloads.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted that austerity was responsible for the increase in violence, saying "Government cuts have decimated services for young Londoners".

"You can't protect people on the cheap!" says MP Dawn Butler.

"When will this government start focusing on investing in local communities instead of cutting everything from Sure Start to youth centres. Youth workers to teachers? It's a struggle that the gov is ignoring."

Gang wars over drug trafficking have also been blamed for the surge in assaults as young men fight over profitable corners and routes.

"Young men become foot soldiers for gangsters and McMafia bosses much further up the tree," Tottenham MP David Lammy says.

"We need to bring down the gangsters."