London murders: Youngsters are ‘locked in war fuelled by social media’ as violent crime surges

Patrick Grafton-Green
Investigators at the scene of the fatal shooting in Tottenham earlier this week: Nigel Howard

There is a “war” going on between groups of youngsters in north London amid a spate of shootings and stabbings in the capital, according to a veteran campaigner.

The youths, from Tottenham and Wood Green, are being fuelled by social media, racial equality campaigner Stafford Scott said.

He spoke out after gang members appeared to joke and boast over the killing of 17-year-old Tanesha Melbourne, who was shot dead in Tottenham on Monday, in a series of vile social media posts.

Police are investigating after screenshots from an Instagram story apparently claimed responsibility for her death.

Accompanying a news story about the murder, a caption read: "If your chilling with my ops [opposition] I ain't gonna adjust my aim for you [laughing emoji] #NPK #SINSQUAD".

Shot dead in Tottenham: Tanesha Melbourne (PA)

A second message, posted over a black screen, read: "We got him down in Tinseltown and his girl down by Chalgrove [two laughing emojis] #NPK #RNS".

Police say they are investigating (Instagram)

The '#NPK' hashtag is thought to refer to Northumberland Park, where the Tottenham gang is believed to be based.

In an interview with the Standard earlier this week, Tottenham MP David Lammy warned of a “turf war between two rival gangs in Tottenham and Wood Green”.

Mr Scott, from Tottenham, also hit out at plans to increase the number of police in the area, accusing politicians of failing young black people and "criminalising our community".

He told Sky's Sunday With Paterson: "The police have a role to play but this isn't only about policing and that is the problem.

"Local authorities, central government, the mayor's office, (they) have all reneged on their responsibility to these people.

"There is no safeguarding, there is no recognition that black kids are the victims as well as being the perpetrators.

"So all we get is policing and the only response we get is the kind of response we got from Cressida Dick yesterday, which is we are going to be harder and we are going to put more out there, which is going to cause more response and reaction."

A police officer stands guard by floral tributes left at the scene of the fatal shooting in Tottenham (PA)

It comes as Amber Rudd denied that a rise in violent crime that has seen London's murder rate surge past that of New York is linked to cuts to frontline policing.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the Home Secretary said figures suggested the number of bobbies on the beat and instances of violent crime were not linked.

"As we confront this issue, I know that the same arguments and criticisms will emerge," Ms Rudd said.

"One is the contention that there are not enough officers on the streets. The evidence, however, does not support this.

"In the early 2000s, when serious violent crimes were at their highest, police numbers were rising.

"In 2008, when knife crime was far greater than the lows we saw in 2013-14, police numbers were close to the highest we'd seen in decades."

National figures show police in England and Wales registered an increase by a fifth of offences involving knives and firearms in the year to September.