LONDON, ONT. -- What a difference a year makes. When the pandemic first hit and brought the initial provincial lockdown, calls for help to London police dropped, but that’s not the case anymore.

“I tell you the calls for service are just as high as ever,” says London police Chief Steve Williams. “It's very busy. We're not seeing the drop that we saw last year.”

On Wednesday night London police took to Twitter to ask people to be patient.

“Now they're not all emergencies, but they're all calls for service and I think we had 57 or 60 at the time of that tweet, “ says Williams. “Some of those are complaints about large gatherings and we attend to those whenever we can and we do our part in conjunction with the City of London bylaw enforcement.”

However, besides COVID-19-related calls, officers are witnessing a disturbing trend when it comes to the number of guns they are seeing on the streets along with a sharp rise in number of shootings -- with two more in the last 24 hours.

“It’s more than we have ever seen. We've recovered over 60 firearms this year, “ adds Williams. “We've had somewhere in the neighbourhood of 14 shootings or incidents of shots fired this year which is the same amount we had in 2020 in total.”

London police are hoping the new task force formed to deal with the issue can curb the trend.

“Our goal through this task force is to remove these firearms from the street, remove these people who use them from the street and create a safer community,” Williams says.