Khan defends record on crime while blaming government for recent rises

Mayor links 10% rise in Londoners’ living costs to 8% increase in violence, robberies, shoplifting, burglary and theft, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

credit GLA
credit GLA

Sadiq Khan will demand a “national strategy to tackle the complex causes of crime”, while highlighting data on the link between the cost of living and a rise in certain offences across London.

In a speech today (Thursday 14th) the mayor will point to modelling from the London School of Economics (LSE) showing that a 10% rise in Londoners’ living costs is accompanied by an 8% overall increase in violence, robberies, shoplifting, burglary and theft.

The mayor is expected to say that government austerity is jeopardising progress made in tackling crime and violence in London, and that there must be a renewed national focus on the causes of crime.

Policing minister Chris Philp hit back in advance of the speech, accusing the mayor of making London “a more dangerous place” and of “wasting” money.

Khan will say: “Through our investment and initiatives, homicides, gun crime and the number of young people being injured with knives have all fallen since 2016, despite our population rising by more than a million in that time. And a person is less likely to be a victim of violent crime in London than they are across the country.”

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He will add: “Austerity has meant the Met’s funding has been cut by a third in real terms since 2010. All told, that’s £1billion. But while the government has run away from its obligations, I have strived to meet mine – by more than doubling City Hall investment in policing, directly funding 1,300 additional police officers.”

The mayor will also announce £15.6m in funding for a new Violence and Exploitation Support Service to provide specialist help to young Londoners who are vulnerable, caught up in, or being exploited by, criminal gangs.

Philp said: “The Met is the highest funded force in England and Wales, receiving over a third more funding than similar areas like Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, but Sadiq Khan continues to waste that money. Since he took office, London has become a more dangerous place and over 1000 people have been murdered on its streets.

“Our record in government speaks for itself – more police officers, and less crime, but Labour can’t say what they would do because they have no plan. The mayor should focus on his own city instead of trying to take the rest of the country back to square one.”

Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall said: “Sadiq Khan is in no position to lecture anyone on crime, after spending eight years closing police stations and ignoring a horrific crime epidemic in London on his watch.

“Londoners want a mayor who will listen and make our streets safer, and I will deliver that on 2nd May.”

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