Visitors to London are now given an extra special welcome when they arrive at our stations, thanks to the Metropolitan Police’s latest advert (pictured). It is advising commuters that, if they hide a gun for someone else, they will go to prison too. That’s told ‘em.
But when I walked past, I did wonder what effect this has on our capital’s image. Sure, the homicide rate is now statistically worse in Lambeth, where there have been 12 homicides so far this year, than it is in the Bronx's notorious 52nd precinct, where there have been 6. And gun crime continues to rise sharply in the capital. Although last year saw a drop (see graph below), figures published on Thursday prove that gun enabled crime in London rose by 17% between April and September this year.
But do we really have to advertise this to people? Americans, bless them, still think Britain is relatively tranquil and that our unarmed policeman are something of an attraction. A poster of a gun pointing at commuters, put there by police, is a horrible reminder of just how unsafe our streets have become.