Violent Crime in London (Supplementary) [3]

Session date: 
December 9, 2014
Question By: 
Victoria Borwick
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) & Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis)


Just taking us back briefly, if I may, to the pressures on the LAS at this time of the year, and obviously the point that was made earlier about drinking and excessive street drinking at this time of the year.  In the past I have been fortunate enough to go out with your teams and see the valuable work they did and last week I was out representing the Mayor with the ambulance teams, and again the vast majority of people who had drunk themselves and had been abandoned by their friends and then ended up putting pressure on our hospital services, which is obviously not what we want at this time of the year.  I really wanted to ask you to use this forum to remind people, because obviously most ambulance calls still come from the police, therefore I wanted just to go back and ask you to continue with your work with the ambulance service to see how we can continue, hopefully, to reduce pressure while tackling crime, therefore reducing pressure on their calls on their time, while remembering that there may be entirely valid reasons, and the more you could work together to reduce street drinking the better.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Violent Crime in London (Supplementary) [3]

Answer for Violent Crime in London (Supplementary) [3]

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) & Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis)

OK.  I mean first of all just let me challenge you a little bit, Victoria, I am not sure that the majority of ambulance calls come from us, they may come through us, but not from us, if that is not too pedantic a point.


Victoria Borwick AM:  OK, I accept that point.


Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  In terms of your overall offer, I am going to resist the opportunity to be Commissioner for Scrooge, however I think if people can drink responsibly at Christmas and particularly look after each other on the streets during Christmas then that would be good, particularly if the weather turns, as we hear it will be this week, because we know that when people have had a drink they are more vulnerable to cold and they do need somebody to care for them.  I think what we always hope is, in each of the boroughs, through charities, local authorities, is that there is someone there who, if all the person needs is a bit of care for a while, there is someone there to care for them.


Only two weeks ago I was in Lambeth for the latest 80 street pastors who are out there, and these are all volunteers who are quite often at advanced ages, are wandering the streets late at night, Friday, Saturday, all the week, and they are trying to help people in these very circumstances.  Therefore I hope people drink responsibly, I hope they look after themselves and, as you indicate, look after their friends.  Because some people go out alone, they need somebody else to keep an eye on them too.  Therefore, I think the street pastors need our support, as do the other charities.


Just to finally reassure you, on the whole we will try, where we can, to direct someone who is drunk, or even aggressive, to go home or to get healthcare rather than arrest them.  There is no great outcome in that for anybody.  If they will not behave then they will have to be arrested, however on the whole we try to direct them to get care.


Victoria Borwick AM:  Thank you.  Mr Mayor, any comments you wish to make?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, and I thank you, Victoria, for what you are doing to help the LAS through what is obviously quite a difficult time with recruitment of paramedics.  I think that has been one of the big problems they have; they are simply starved of the paramedics they need and are having to go to Australia to get more.


Victoria Borwick AM:  Thank you, well hopefully everyone will take that message and drink safely over this Christmas time.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, I am sorry, let me associate myself powerfully with what the Commissioner had to say about drinking really responsibly over Christmas, or not drinking at all.