London’s deputy chief of police Daryl Longworth says that while he doesn’t want to rely on just one year of data, three major signs point to an increase in the number of firearms in the city.
The concern was brought forward at Thursday’s London Police Services Board meeting as part of the annual use-of-force report.
The report showed the number of use-of-force incidents involving subjects with a pistol, rifle, or shotgun nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018, from eight per cent to 15 per cent.
“We’ve got one indication from these force reports that our officers encountering firearms is rising, but if we also look at the data, the number of firearms we seized on the street last year, it’s increased by 95 — 214 firearms seized in 2018, versus 119 the year before.”
In addition, Longworth said 74 officers were injured last year, up from 50 in 2017.
“More officers being injured, we’re seizing more weapons on the street, and of the use-of-force encounters our officers are encountering, we’re seeing more subjects armed with weapons,” he explained.
“So again, not to be alarmist, one year of data, but we’ve got three different things that are kind of pointing us in a direction we may be heading.”
City councillor and London Police Services Board chair Mo Salih made a point of recognizing the dangers that police officers face.
“The deputy highlighted the 74 times officers were injured, 38 times medical attention was needed, so I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate that officers continue to put their lives on the risk and their bodies in harm’s way.”