The unit will be set up with £500,000 from City Hall and will expand on work under the mayor’s knife crime strategy.
It is separate from the mayor’s £45m young Londoners fund, which was set up to provide young people with alternatives to crime and to help those caught up in gangs to secure employment and training.
There is also a serious violence taskforce, set up by the government and comprising ministers, cross-party MPs, police leaders, local government and the voluntary sector, and the Metropolitan police’s violent crime taskforce, made up of full-time, specially selected and ringfenced police officers, which is also funded by City Hall.
There have been 100 homicides in the capital so far this year. A third of the victims were aged 16 to 24, and three in five of the killings were stabbings.
The mayor and his team have conducted research to see how the public health approach in Glasgow unit – a city of just over 600,000 people – could be scaled up to work in London, with its population of nearly 9 million.
Khan said: “The causes of violent crime are extremely complex, involving deep-seated societal problems like poverty, social alienation, mental ill-health and a lack of opportunity.
“I want to be honest with Londoners that the work of the violence reduction unit will not deliver results overnight. The causes of violent crime are many years in the making and the solutions will take time. That’s why our new approach is focusing over the long-term. This unit is not a substitute for the investment our public services need if London is to significantly cut levels of violent crime.”
Between April 2006 and April 2011 in Scotland, 40 children and teenagers were killed in homicides involving a knife; between 2011 and 2016 the figure fell to eight.