Mayor of London should declare crime emergency in capital


Independent London Mayoral candidate Rory Stewart has called on Sadiq Khan to declare a crime emergency in the capital.

There were 149 homicides in London last year – the highest number in more than a decade.

Robbery has risen 73% in four years, theft from the person is up 56%, and there were more than 15,000 knife crimes in 2019.

Mr Stewart has written to the Mayor to demand more action to combat violent crime.

The former Conservative MP says Mr Khan should commit that:

  • Crime will fall and detection rates will rise – with measurable targets to ensure this happens;
  • Every new Met officer will be out on the streets in uniform to tackle the emergency;
  • All extra funds from the Mayor’s planned council tax hike will go straight to street policing – budgets for all other Met units should be frozen;
  • Police will go to the homes of anyone who is burgled, and a detective will investigate every robbery.

The independent Mayoral hopeful wants members of the public who agree with his approach to add their signature to his letter.

Former Met borough commander Gerry Campbell has backed Mr Stewart’s call for action, and wants the Mayor to “urgently” declare a street crime emergency.

Mr Campbell said: “The police have to be allowed to get on with their job – with the Mayor 100% behind their efforts to bring down crime on our streets.

“But this Mayor is not focused – he does not set clear targets, and he does not back up his officers. 

Mr Stewart says he’d double the number of local police in capital if elected Mayor, and introduce a London youth service to get youngsters volunteering in their communities.

A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan said Mr Stewart’s letter demonstrated “unbelievable hypocrisy”.

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She said: “Londoners have not forgotten that as a Tory MP, Rory Stewart voted for every single package of cuts to the Met Police and youth services in London since 2010 – never once voting against them.

“He seems to have only now realised the consequences of his actions after walking around London for a few weeks.”

She said Mr Khan was not “playing pointless political games” but funding 1,300 extra police and investing £70 million in London youth services.

Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey wants tougher stop-and-search powers including thermal cameras to scan members of the public who could be carrying knives.

He’s calling for an extra 2,300 police officers in the capital, and says he’d reopen all 38 police stations closed by the current Mayor.

The London Assembly member also wants a fund to help low-level knife offenders move away from crime before they commit a violent attack.

Liberal Democrat Siobhan Benita says trial legalisation of cannabis in the capital is the best way to strip power from drugs gangs and stop violence.

She wants after-school activities for all young people, and a dedicated police officer working with every school.

She’s also called for police stations to reopen in local communities, and wants to double local police.

Green candidate Sian Berry wants citizens’ assemblies to debate the role of the police so all Londoners feel they can trust the Met.

She’d also reverse cuts to youth services, having pushed the Mayor to invest £70 million to help vulnerable youngsters in the capital.

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