Knife Crime in London (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
December 16, 2015
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Tony Arbour AM (Deputy Chairman in the Chair):  Assembly Member Arnold?

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  Chair, thank you for bringing me in.  Mr Mayor, we have touched on this briefly but I did not have time to really put a full call to you.  You talked earlier about the mixture of solutions.  Can I just say that I welcome the support that you have given to the Ben Kinsella Trust and the work that it does in terms of the education package it delivers across London?  Members will remember that Ben was tragically murdered in the week of his 16th birthday on 28 June 2008.

I am calling on you for a knife amnesty.  If you cannot commit to seeing it across London, let me just say why it should be targeted and let me speak firstly about my constituency.  In the last year, what we have seen in my constituency is we have seen seven young people under 25 murdered on our streets because of knife crime.  That is certainly by itself an awful number that we all regret, but there have been 15 murders across London so far this year.  In 2014, there was a total of just 11.  It is not ‘just’ because every life matters but there were 11 deaths.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Knife Crime in London (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Knife Crime in London (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  That is right.  It was eight the year before.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM :  We know that when we have had these amnesties they do work in that we get a sense there.  Can you see that as a response?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes.  I am not against that, Jennette.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM :  If you are not against it, then will you give your full support to it?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Can I make a proposal that I respond in more or less the same way as I have to Joanne [McCartney AM] and take it away?  I will look at what area, whether it is your constituency or Islington or Hackney, and what the most appropriate way of doing that might be.  I will talk to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe [QPM, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis] about whether he thinks it would be of real practical benefit right now.  If he does, I have absolutely no problem with that at all.  We have done it before; I see no reason why we should not do it again.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  I have written to you and I have written to Sir Bernard and I will have the opportunity tomorrow to raise this in public with Sir Bernard.  You would find that there is cross-party support for it, if not London-wide then targeted.

As Joanne has said, in Islington we have had 33 more offences so far and a 78% increase and in Haringey, her own constituency, 19 more offences and 31%.  I believe that there are boroughs where the percentage increase is now going even higher than that and so there is a time now for us to think about that.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  You are quite right.  The fact is that the large percentage increases reflect the very low levels that were achieved a couple of years ago.  Even today, yes, you are right to say that 15 deaths is 15 too many ‑‑

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  Too many.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ but it is roughly half the number that there were seven or eight years ago.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  No, we do not look at that.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  That is no consolation to the families of the victims but I am just trying to ‑‑

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  No, it is no comparison.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  It is important to see the figures in context and to recognise that murders in London are currently running at about 100 a year and they were running at 150 a year.  Overall, crime continues to be well down.

Listen.  The amnesty proposal is something that should be considered.  We do not want a ludicrous situation in which people are handing in the wrong types of weapons and all of that sort of thing.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  No, that does not happen.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Let us see what practical steps we can take and what geographical zone would be most appropriate.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  Thank you.