Andrew Marr questions Sadiq Khan about London crime
Metropolitan Police have warned that London is “on track” to endure the worst year of teenage murders in more than a decade if youth violence continues at the current rate, increasing pressure on Mayor Sadiq Khan to let him act now. The UK’s largest police force said knife and gun violence could lead to the highest number of youth homicides since 2008, when 28 young people were killed. At the time of these comments, the Met said at least 17 teenagers had been killed in London so far this year, despite a 22% drop in serious violent offenses and a drop in the overall murder rate over the course of the last year.
Mayor Khan is under increasing pressure to act quickly to stop the rise in violent crime and announced last month that Londoners would see a greater police presence in the capital this summer.
But that plan was brutally destroyed by Ken Marsh, president of the Metropolitan Police Federation, the staff association to which every Met police officer, sergeant, inspector and chief inspector belongs – a total of more than 30,000 officers.
He warned that there were no additional officers who could be deployed on the streets of London, as many forces are still severely depleted due to the illness and isolation of Covid.
Mr Marsh told Express.co.uk: ‘All the Metropolitan Police officers want to do is a good job, but now they find themselves working in a perfect storm.
News from London: Sadiq Khan’s plan to deploy more police on the streets torn apart
News from London: Ken Marsh warned that police forces are already under heavy pressure
“They are doing their best to keep watch on the streets that are getting busier than ever as we return to, if not surpass, pre-pandemic crime levels, with a workforce still depleted due to Covid disease and isolation.
“A colleague recently told me that he has 20 officers on leave with Covid.
“It puts enormous pressure on the rest of my colleagues, who were already working at full capacity before the pandemic hit. “
The president of the Met Police Federation then blasted: “The government and the mayor of London will argue that we have hundreds of thousands of extra ‘bobbys’ that can be taken out whenever the going gets tough, but we don’t. not.
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“These are the same officers, working harder than ever, against ever-increasing demand.
“Remember – as we say time and time again – that there are no ‘extra police’.
“Just the same people whose days off are canceled, who work longer shifts and who are moved from other areas.”
Mr Marsh warned that young people who have been “locked up for a long time” are feeling frustrated, with people now fighting in the streets with machetes.
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News from London: Sadiq Khan comes under increasing pressure to tackle surge in violent crime
The police chief fears that London is on the way to having its worst year for the murders of young people since 2008, and fears the worst because it will be “always our colleagues who will have to pick up the pieces”.
Mr Marsh continued: ‘You wouldn’t expect to see people fighting with machetes anywhere on the streets of the UK, but that’s what we are now facing and that’s what what my colleagues face what seems to be a daily basis.
“As I speak to you, if London continues to see this rate of violence, we will be on our way to having the worst year for youth homicides since 2008.
“We fear the worst but hope for the best but it will always be our colleagues who will come away picking up the pieces.
“In the meantime, we are berated what seems morning, noon and night about our use of checks and searches, and yet people feel emboldened to carry machetes through the streets in broad daylight.”
News from London: The mayor said there will be a greater police presence in the capital this summer
In response, a spokesperson for the mayor of London told Express.co.uk: ‘Due to the mayor’s focus on investment and recruiting in the police, there are now 1,300 additional police officers on the streets. of the capital, bringing the total number of officers of the Met. to over 32,500 – the highest number in a decade.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the Met Police continue to provide a resilient and strong police service in London and the Mayor is committed to working closely with them to quell violence and make our communities safer.
“This summer, Londoners will see more officers on the streets patrolling open spaces and parks, while keeping our city centers safe day and night as part of the Met’s action and the city hall to tackle violence as restrictions continue to loosen in the capital and summer vacation begins.
Last month, Mayor Khan announced that Londoners would see a greater police presence in the capital this summer.
He said: ‘Over this summer Londoners will see a greater police presence in our city – especially in areas where there has been a history of violent crime.
“You will see an increase in activity in these areas and at the same time the good news is that we are going to give young people even more constructive things to do to keep them busy during the summer.
“Sports education, culture during the day, events during the weekend, funding for youth workers to work with young people, because there is no point in complaining when idle hands are doing no good.
“We’re going to have to give our hands idle on constructive things to do.”