The Mayor of London said the capital’s violent crime needs to treated as a “public health issue” as he launched a specialist unit to tackle the epidemic.

Earlier today Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced he has already dedicated £500,000 towards the Violence Reduction Unit.

The unit aims to tackle violent crime by working with local authorities, youth and health services and police.

By looking at how factors such as how violence in homes and in children’s early lives can lead them into crime, Mr Khan hopes to divert people away from violent crime at an early age.

Mr 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.

“This new approach will work alongside the increased enforcement work being carried out by the Metropolitan Police.

“But 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.”

The murder rate in London has now reached over 100 so far this year.

The unit is modelled on Glasgow’s approach to reducing violent crime, which began in 2004 and looked at how alcohol problems in young men were contributing to murders in the city.

By tackling alcoholism, crime in the Glasgow was drastically reduced.

Steve O’Connell, the chairman of the London Assembly police and crime committee, welcomed the initiative but was apprehensive.

Mr O’Connell said: “We commend the Mayor for finally recognising that a broader approach that addresses the causes of violence is needed to halt the scourge of violent crime, in all its forms, that is blighting our city.

“However, there is a worrying lack of detail as to how this unit will operate across such a vast area as the whole of London.

“We will be keeping a close eye on whether this new plan has an impact on the ground and does not end up a missed opportunity.”