The Metropolitan Police has come under fire for not treating drug dealing on the streets as a priority.

Conservative London assembly member Andrew Boff questioned Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, Martin Hewitt earlier today about how the police is tackling a surge in violent crime in the capital.

Figures from the Metropolitan Police show that so far this year in the capital there have been 72 murders.

Out of those fatalities 47 of them were committed using a knife and 9 using a fire arm.

Mr Boff said: “What attention is the Metropolitan Police giving to drug dealing taking place on the streets in order to tackle violent crime, because statistics often show that people found carrying a knife are often found carrying drugs.

Mr Hewitt responded that it was an issue the police were “looking at” as well as fighting drug dealing over county lines – which he said was drawing people into criminality from a young age.

During a police and crime committee meeting last month there was a strong focus on how people dealing drugs across “county lines” were increasing the drug trade in London.

The “county lines” phenomenon involves criminal gangs setting up drug dealing operations in places outside their usual operating area.

The Government’s first-ever serious violence strategy, which was released in April this year, identified “county lines” as a driver of violence because of turf wars between drug gang rivals.

Powers under the Modern Slavery Act are being now being used successfully to prosecute members of county lines gangs, with the first convictions secured at Swansea Crown Court in December 2017.

Referring back to the previous meeting Mr Hewitt said that this new legislation would be a major factor in helping to deal with the number of drug-related violent crimes.

But, Mr Boff was unsatisfied with this answer and said that it was not just “county lines” drug dealing that needed to be tackled and pressed Mr Hewitt for an answer how drug dealing on the streets was being dealt with.

Mr Boff asked: “Will you be treating drug dealing on the streets, not just across county lines, as a high priority?”

But Mr Hewitt stressed the need to use resources to tackle county lines drug smuggling first.

He added: “We need to fight drug dealing in a number of ways and that involves we have to look at it from all ends of the spectrum- from on the streets to across county borders.”