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Mayor and commissioner tackle violence

24 January 2019

THE MAYOR of London and the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police have today set out plans to spend £85 million of new City Hall funding to tackle violent crime and burglary in the capital.

It comes as new figures from the Office for National Statistics show that violence and knife crime has begun to slow down in London and is increasing more starkly across the rest of the country. However, it’s clear they remain much too high and both the Commissioner and the Mayor are determined to do everything in their power to crack down on violence and knife crime.

Sadiq Khan intends to increase his share of council tax by the maximum amount allowed by the Government for the second year running in order to give additional funding to the Met.

Last year, the Met used £15 million of additional City Hall funding to create the new Violent Crime Taskforce, with 272 dedicated officers focusing on tackling violent crime in the areas of London that have been worse affected – leading to nearly 2,500 arrests and removing more than 1,000 dangerous weapons from London’s streets. The Mayor also created the £45 million Young Londoners Fund to provide positive opportunities for disadvantaged young Londoners away from crime, and created the new Violence Reduction Unit, tasked with learning the lessons from successful schemes in Glasgow and elsewhere to tackle the root causes of violent crime.

This year, the Commissioner plans to use the additional funding to build on the success of the Violent Crime Taskforce, by giving the Met’s local policing teams access to additional officers to bear down on violence in their area. While officer numbers are still to be finalised, the plan is fully supported by the Mayor who has made tackling violence his number one priority. Increasing officers will allow even more focus on tackling the drugs market which fuels street violence, along with other proactive policing activity.

The Mayor is also investing an additional £6.8 million in the Violence Reduction Unit this year, and has announced that it will be led by Lib Peck, currently London Councils Executive Member for Crime and Public Protection (leading London boroughs’ cross-party work to keep Londoners safe) and the Leader of Lambeth Council.

More resources will also be invested in the police response to burglary, which is rising in London. There will be a major boost for Met Trace, the Met’s flagship burglary prevention programme which involves officers visiting homes to provide Londoners with crime prevention advice and delivering property-marking kits, which will significantly widen coverage and protect homes across the capital. Local police will continue to focus on work to prevent burglary and target those responsible.

The additional funding will also support increased proactivity to both prevent and detect burglary.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The causes of violent crime are extremely complex and involve deep-seated problems like poverty, inequality, social alienation and a lack of opportunities for young people. This been made much worse by huge Government cuts to the police and preventative services.

“I am doing everything within my power to tackle crime and the causes of crime. These proposals will allow the Met to crack down on violence in communities, building on the Violent Crime Taskforce which has made nearly 2,500 arrests and removed more than 1,000 dangerous weapons from London’s streets. This is alongside new investment in the Violence Reduction Unit that will help tackle the root causes of violent crime.

“Today’s crime figures also show we need to do even more to tackle burglary and that’s why we are using my funding to increase the roll out of more anti-burglary kits across London. 

“Our increased proactive approach to supporting victims of residential burglary, with a focus on pursuing investigations, providing reassurance and tailored crime prevention advice, will bolster the police’s response to this invasive crime.”

Commissioner Cressida Dick said, “The latest crime statistics show the challenges London has been facing so the extra money the Met will get from the increase in council tax precept is crucial. It will be spent on what matters most to Londoners, enabling us to continue our top priority of bearing down on violence. 

“The reduction in budgets and police numbers in recent years combined with increased demands has been a challenge and this extra money will enable us to begin to recruit more officers and staff to provide greater capacity to tackle violence, increase our response to the growing threat of online child sexual exploitation, and deal with other key areas of concern such a burglary. We will support officers more, including with investment in technology and equipment, to make sure that every officer can be as effective as possible in preventing crime, solving more crime and bringing more offenders to justice.”

Today’s ONS figures show that violent crimes in the 12 months to September 2018 increased by 6.1 per cent compared to 21.8 per cent across the country, while violence with injury rose by 1 per cent in London compared to 9.2 per cent in the rest of England and Wales.

Knife crime in London saw a rise of 7.8 per cent over the same period, a decrease on the previous quarter while it increased by 9 per cent in the rest of the country.

Burglary has increased more starkly in the capital compared to the rest of the country, which has seen a reduction of 3.7 per cent.