Sadiq allocates extra £15m to policing to help combat knife crime
The Mayor of London today announced that he is allocating an extra £15m in his budget for next year to boost police resources and help officers tackle knife crime.
Sadiq also said he will consider if any additional income raised from council tax and provided to the Mayor by the capital’s local authorities can be invested in youth services across the city and other initiatives that help combat knife crime.
Issuing his draft budget today for the entire Greater London Authority Group, Sadiq confirmed that the cash injection is part of a new additional £49m pot of funding that will be made available to the Metropolitan Police over the next year.
In addition to the £15m to combat knife crime, £20.1m will be allocated to cover the cost of a two per cent police pay increase in 2018/19. The remaining £13.9m will be made available to the Commissioner to invest in officer numbers and to step up the fight against crime this year and next.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Keeping Londoners safe is my first priority and I reluctantly took the decision to increase council tax because of government cuts and their failure to back the Metropolitan Police with the funds that they need.
“Of these additional funds, I am pleased to announce that an additional £15m will be allocated to help officers on the streets to get to grips with knife crime.
“Our police officers are doing everything to tackle the scourge of knife crime in the face of massive budget cuts, falling officer numbers and the growing threat from terrorism.
“Londoners will see tougher action on knife crime throughout 2018 as we look to use all of the tools available to make our streets safer.”
Sadiq believes that council tax is a regressive form of taxation which hits those who can least afford to pay it the hardest, but was been left with no choice but to take the difficult decision to increase both his Policing Precept and non-Policing Precept by a total of 27p per week, the vast majority of which will be used to fund the Metropolitan Police.
Since 2010-11 the Met’s general grant funding from the Government has fallen by more than £700 million, or nearly 40 per cent in real terms, on a like for like basis, and in recent years the Met police have had to find more than £600m of savings.
This has led to the loss of a third of police staff posts – down from 14,330 to 9,985 - two-thirds of police community support officer posts – down from 4,607 to 1,591 - as well as 114 police station front counters and 120 police buildings.
Returns from local authorities, due at the end of January, will allow the Mayor to determine the size of any council tax collection fund surplus and any additional business rates.
In preparation for this, the Mayor has requested proposals from the GLA and functional bodies about how any additional one-off funding could be used. This will include exploring options to provide further support for projects assisting young people, recognising both the impact of Government austerity measures on them and the role such interventions can play in tackling knife crime and addressing mental health problems.
The Mayor published his full and comprehensive Knife Crime Strategy in June 2017. Since then:
• Every single London borough now has a bespoke knife crime action plan created in partnership with the Met police.
• Every school in London can now receive a knife wand, to help keep young people safe and prevent knife crime at school. 82 schools have already taken up the Mayor’s offer, and his Deputy for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, recently wrote again to schools reminding them of how they can obtain a wand if they would like one.
• The Mayor hosted an Education Knife Crime Summit in October 2017, bringing together Ofsted, education leaders, the Met police and Transport for London as well as parents and young people affected by knife crime, to collaborate on how to best tackle the problem in schools, including the development of a new downloadable toolkit that will support knife crime prevention through the Mayor’s media campaign.
• The Mayor is working closely with Ofsted and headteachers to improve the actions taken by schools to prevent knife crime, and support students and parents in the event of an incident.
• The Mayor is working to increase the number of Safer Schools Officers across the capital, to engage with pupils and drive down crime in schools.
• The Mayor’s first anti-knife crime media campaign, London Needs You Alive, launched in November. The campaign brings together role models and social media youth ‘influencers’ to encourage young people away from carrying a knife, focusing on their talent and worth to the capital. With hundreds of thousands of social media followers between them, leading grime artist Yungen, MC Bossman Birdie, photographer Tom Sloan and urban poet Hussain Manawer are among those supporting it.
• The Mayor confirmed he is investing £1.4m to continue to provide youth workers in Major Trauma Centres, and place more youth workers to hospital A&E departments, to help steer young Londoners who have been involved in knife crime away from violence in the future.
• During Operation Winter Nights, which ran from November until December 2017, the Met made over 900 arrests and took more than 350 weapons off the streets – including 278 knives, 61 offensive weapons and 20 firearms. The total number of arrests included 334 arrests following stop and searches.
• In November, MOPAC and the Met hosted a retailers’ workshop to discuss what more the business community can do to reduce knife crime. Attendees included representatives from Business Crime Reduction Partnerships, Business Improvement Districts, Trading Standards, Local Police, national retailers, independent retailers, the British Retail Consortium and British Independent Retailer Association.
• £250,000 of community seed funding has been made available to community groups and grass-roots anti-knife initiatives across London, to fund work with young people preventing and protecting them from knife crime.
• MOPAC is creating the London Knife Crime Dashboard which will be publicly available. This will be one of a number of dashboards that the public and stakeholders can use access and interpret data on a number of types of crime.