Gun crime has risen in Barnet over the past year as residents in possession of firearms are urged to hand them in to police.

Across the whole of London there was a 22 per cent rise in gun crime last year, with more than 420 individual cases reported.

There were 76 cases of gun crime in Barnet over 2016, up from 67 in the previous year, which is an increase of 13 per cent.

Temi Mwale, who heads the 4Front project which is working to combat violent crime in young people, said not enough is being done to address problems with in communities.

She said: “We are not surprised by the statistics, the reality is violence and the threat of violence is commonplace for many young people and communities.

“Locally and nationally, we have not invested in tackling the root causes of violence.

“Unaddressed community trauma is driving violence locally, regionally and nationally.

“Unfortunately whilst it has been evidenced, we don't associate rising violence with rising inequalities.

“The increasing lack of opportunity and unavailability of legitimate means for financial gain has pushed many towards the illicit markets which are regulated by violence.”

A campaign from the Metropolitan police running this week is urging residents to hand in their firearms.

Anyone who does so before 11am on Sunday (February 12) will not have to give over their details.

Barnet police station in High Street, High Barnet, is open 24 hours a day taking in firearms for the Give Up Your Gun campaign.

Barnet’s London assembly member Andrew Dismore has put himself behind the campaign, urging constituents to take part.

He said: “It is extremely worrying to see gun crime going up in Barnet and across the capital.

“Every single incident brings misery to the individuals involved, and to their friends and families.

“I would urge anyone reading this who is in possession of a firearm – or knows someone who is – to hand it in – you’ll help to make our community safer.”

Despite the numbers, Barnet remains one of the safest boroughs in London with the third-lowest rate of violent offences across the capital.

An unnamed Barnet Council spokesperson said: “The council is actively working to reduce gun crime by educating those at risk of involvement in gun culture on the impacts carrying weapons can have.

“This is in addition to wider prevention programmes with the police and other partners.”

In the past two years, London police have taken more than 1,400 firearms off the streets, including 230 handed in during similar gun surrender projects in November 2014 and 2015.