London has come under the spotlight for a surge in violent crime, particularly knife crime. It seems everyday several people in London are stabbed or attacked on the street. Senior police figures are battling against the narrative that they’ve lost control of London’s streets, but how can they still have control, when so many are dying?
How can the police still claim to have the situation under control in London, when Theresa May has cut 2495 police officers, and 3261 police community support officers from the Metropolitan Police Force? Where are the resources to maintain a constant presence on the ground?
In defence of Sadiq Khan, someone’s politics I don’t usually agree with, he has increased the level of funding to policing in London by £60m per year, cutting into London’s local budget. It is claimed that this new funding will put an extra 1,000 officers on the street, but that pales in comparison to the £700m cut from the central government budget. Even now, as crime has soared in London, Theresa May has announced she’s going to go ahead with a further £300m additional police budget cuts in London by 2020. Police on the street will become an even rarer occurrence.
The Conservative party has two cynical political attack lines on this topic; firstly, they aim to solely pin the blame for rising crime in London on Sadiq Khan’s failure as Mayor. The truth is, Sadiq Khan does have the final responsibility to keep Londoners safe, but they never mention their role in the deep policing budget cuts discussed above. Secondly, the Conservatives attack Labour councils for increasing Council Tax, a move the Conservative party has pushed them into doing, to protect local services, including social care and policing. Meanwhile wealthier Conservative voting areas are paying less, and not contributing to the increasing demand of their local budgets to provide additional policing in London.
Former senior Metropolitan Police officer Peter Kirkham has been frank in his assessment of the situation, with a lifetimes experience in the Met Police, it’s worth listening to his take on the London crime wave:
Keeping the spotlight on London-centric crime is priority number one for the Conservative party. Che Donald is the vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, the body that represents police officers. He has already taken to BBC Radio 4, informing us that, “violence itself across the country is increasing exponentially”.
Across the entirety of England & Wales, we’re experiencing a 36% rise in stalking and harassment, 29% increase in robbery. Knife crime has increase more steeply, by a staggering 21% last year alone. All of this reversing 20 years of sustained decreases in violent crimes, as police numbers on the street wear thin, and the real cost of keeping us ‘safe’ on the cheap is revealed.