Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick has rejected calls to adopt a target of zero murders in London within 10 years.

At a meeting of the London Assembly on Thursday morning, the Met chief was asked by Green Party Assembly Member Caroline Russell whether she would set the target “so that both the Mayor of London and the Met have a strategic goal focused on prevention to measure progress against”.

But the request was shot down by Dame Cressida, who said that it is “not actually a realistic target”.

She said: “Frankly I don’t think I would set that target, and I don’t want to sound unambitious in that, but when you look at the fact that right now, we have a 97 per cent detection rate for murder, we have enormous effort going into policing violent crime, we’ve had some fantastic successes, but… last year there were about 140 murders. To get from 140 to zero in 10 years… I don’t actually think it is a realistic target to set.

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“It would be lovely to aim towards it, I get that, but I just don’t believe in targets that we’re not going to achieve.”

Last week, 16-year-old Rishmeet Singh became the 28th teenage murder victim in London this year, making 2021 the worst year in over a decade for teenage homicides. London currently accounts for almost half of all teenage killings in the UK.

During 2008, the current worst year on record, there were 29 teenage killings, just one more than this year’s current total.

Responding to the Met commissioner’s refusal to set a target of zero murders in London, Assembly Member Caroline Russell said she was “shocked”.

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Ms Russell said: “Murder rates have barely reduced since 2005. I’m shocked that the Commissioner was lost for words and did not agree that zero is the only acceptable target number for homicides in London. This target already exists for road deaths with Vision Zero, there’s no reason we should limit our ambition to end preventable death to road death.

“We must be aiming for zero homicides each year to have a strategic goal, focused on prevention and measures to address inequality and other causes of violence to measure progress against. Setting a bold target will encourage bold action. There is no other acceptable target.”