More police officers on the streets carrying out stop and searches could be helping to reduce violent crime in Enfield.

Metropolitan Police figures show the borough witnessed a fall in several types of crime in the year to February, including serious youth violence and knife crime with injury.

Andrea Clemons, the council’s head of community safety, told Thursday’s (March 28) meeting of the crime scrutiny panel she thought more stop and searches could be responsible for the declines.

Ms Clemons said: “My hypothesis would be that we have had a lot of extra police officers in the borough – and they have had a positive impact in terms of increasing the number of stop and searches, which may have contributed to a reduction in the number of knife crime injuries”

The community safety head added that a recent merger between Enfield and Haringey’s police forces in a shared command unit could also be having an impact, as it means resources can be deployed either side of council borders.

Enfield’s rate of serious youth violence has fallen from the highest to the fourth-highest in London, behind Southwark, Westminster and Haringey.

But the borough’s knife crime rate rose by nearly ten per cent in the 12 months to February, with a total of 621 offences.

Ms Clemons said: “That may be as a result of having extra police officers – they have uncovered these extra offences.”

Knife crime possession offences rose slightly, but knife crime with injury fell by almost five per cent to a total of 176 incidents.

Ms Clemons said: “That could be a result of proactive stop and search.

“There has been almost double the amount of stop and search in February, and about half have been taking place in higher crime wards along the border with Haringey.”

Cuts to police spending since 2010 have left officer numbers per head across the capital at a 20-year low, according to City Hall.

But Enfield benefited from an increased police presence in February after a spate of incidents left the borough with the highest rate of serious youth violence in the capital in the year to November 2018.

Residents and councillors at Thursday’s meeting raised concerns about a number of recent incidents in which schoolchildren had been attacked during their lunchbreak and had their possessions – and even their clothes – stolen.

Acting superintendent Neil Billany, from the Met Police’s North Area Command Unit, told the meeting more police officers had been deployed to problem areas such as Enfield Town to combat this trend.

He added that police officers had been into schools to give pupils advice on how to protect themselves.

Acting supt Billany said there were 40 police constables linked to schools in Enfield and Haringey, and pupils can go to them for advice or to report incidents.

But he added that one of the problems they face is making sure pupils are confident enough to approach police officers.

The acting superintendent agreed to look into ways of raising awareness about school police officers in response to claims that many pupils do not know they are there.