Claims public health approach to crime is working
Picture: Michael Koolman
Sadiq Khan says he has made London safer in 2019 – despite record killings and rising knife crime in the city.
The Mayor says falling youth violence is a sign that his public health approach to crime is working.
But there have been more homicides in 2019 than any year since 2008, outstripping the decade-high killings seen last year.
And knife crime continues to rise, with more than 15,400 attacks in 2018/19, according to the Home Office.
Conservative Assembly members yesterday attacked Mr Khan as “delusional” and failing to take responsibility.
But the Mayor said youth violence was down 30 per cent – an early sign that his investment in youth work is working.
City Hall has spent £45 million on a Young Londoners’ Fund, paying for youth work across the city.
Mr Khan also set up the capital’s Violence Reduction Unit last year, as part of his public health approach to crime.
Modelled on successful projects in Glasgow and America, the unit brings together health workers, local councils, probation services, police, and community groups to tackle violence in London.
Speaking at Mayor’s Question Time yesterday, the Mayor said: “Every single life lost to knife crime is a tragedy, and I can reassure Londoners that tackling knife crime will continue to be my top priority.”
He added: “I think for a politicians to play political games when there are bereaved families across our city is a disgrace.
“Unlike previous Mayors I write to bereaved families who’ve suffered a loss on the streets of our city and I meet with them.
“They would be appalled by the posturing made by members of the Assembly this morning on this important issue – I take it really seriously.”
But newly elected Conservative group leader Susan Hall said Mr Khan was “delusional” to believe London was getting safer.
She said: “Isn’t the simple truth that we have record knife crime and record murder numbers.
“Yet you as a Mayor have wasted a record amount of tax payers money: £90 million on more City Hall staff, £9.4 million on PR, and £32.7 million on TfL perks.”
She added: “Quite frankly because of your decisions this city is a lot less safe than it could be.”
Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said the Mayor had been too slow to take action against violence on the streets.
He said: “You haven’t taken responsibility for this. You continually blame other people.
“You talk to us about the rest of the country – you’re responsible for London. You’re not the Mayor of the country, you’re the Mayor of London.”
He added: “We are dying, our children are dying on the streets, and you’re not taking any action.”
Jessie Matthewson - Local Democracy Reporter
December 24, 2019