The future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [4]

Session date: 
July 6, 2017
Question By: 
Gareth Bacon
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Susan Hall AM:  Thank you, Chair.  Mr Mayor, a few days after you were elected, you said in an interview, “Every time a young person carries a knife, it is a sign of failure”, and since you have been Mayor the figures have gone up incredibly.  Therefore, would you accept that you have failed?

 

Answer

Answer for The future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [4]

Answer for The future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [4]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Knife crime has been going up since 2014.  I became Mayor in May 2016.  Knife crime has been going up across England and Wales in the last year more than it has in London.  I am not the Prime Minister; I am the Mayor of London.

 

What I am doing, though, is I published last week a comprehensive Knife Crime Strategy that was drafted after speaking to hundreds of thousands of people across London including young people, including community partners, including boroughs, including London Assembly Members, to make sure we have a Knife Crime Strategy that is holistic.

 

I am spending more than £5 million of London taxpayers’ money to address this issue: to have things like school safety officers more than before, to offer each school a wand so that they can use the wand if they want to, to make sure we are supporting youth workers across London.  As a consequence of Government decisions, 30 youth centres across London have closed down, which means 13,000 young people do not have a place in a youth service.  We have to recognise that it is a failure every time a young person carries a knife and the vast, vast majority of young people are peaceful, are law-abiding and should be invested in.  That is why it is outrageous that central Government has made so many cuts over the last couple of years.

 

Susan Hall AM:  It is outrageous that every answer to every question comes down to the fault of the Government because you have to take responsibility.  You are the leader in London.

 

With regard to the actual Strategy, we were concerned, as it is one of your top priorities, that it did take so long, but - the same as Assembly Member Pidgeon - we were very concerned about the measurables within it.  If you are confident that the things that you are going to put in place are going to work, what are your timelines on starting to bring these figures down?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  We want knife crime to reduce as soon as possible.  That is one of the reasons why Operation Sceptre is up and running.  The fact that we have had so many weapons being seized is a sign of success.  The fact that so many arrests have been made is a sign of success.  The fact that so many young people have been charged is a sign of success.  The fact that I am able to offer every school in London a wand is a sign of success.  However, the reality is that every family that is affected by knife crime is a tragedy.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Of course.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  There are too many grieving mums, dads, brothers and sisters who are suffering because of knife crime.  We need to stop that.

 

Susan Hall AM:  What picture would you see as being a success?  Given that we all understand the problems and the constraints, what are you aiming for and within what timeline to give us some indication as to whether this Knife Crime Strategy is actually going to work?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am sure you read the Knife Crime Strategy before you asked the question, but you will see in the Knife Crime Strategy what the ambition is in relation to the fruits of the Knife Crime Strategy: knife crime going down, there being fewer bereaved families, school safety officers being used in schools across London, more young people being able to walk the streets of London without being in fear of knife crime, more parents not being worried that their teenage children are out.  All of these are examples of the ambitions we have.  The good news is, despite cuts from central Government, we are making good progress.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Yes, but the trouble is that going down could mean by one.  We are looking for some measurables that we can hold a standard to as to whether this Knife Crime Strategy is working.  If you put in some proper measurables, then we can judge you by that.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Sure.  The bad news is that in England and Wales in the last 12 months knife crime has gone up by 14% ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  Yes, I know.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Well, it does not seem ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  I listened to you intently and I listened to all those comments that you have made a couple of times now.  It is just that if we are to hold you to account, we have to have some sort of measurables.  To say that something will go up or something will go down does not give us anything to really judge you on.  That is what we are looking for.  It took so long for this Knife Crime Strategy to come out and we were hoping that we would have something that we could start measuring your success on.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  You see, it is difficult ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  Are you going to repeat the saying that it is of course the Government’s fault and not give me any more?  If I can move on to another ‑‑

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chair, if I could answer the last speech or question, I am not sure if it was a speech or a question.  I do not know.  Speech or question?

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  It was a speech.  Can we have a question from you, Assembly Member Hall, please?

 

Susan Hall AM:  Do you not agree?

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Let us move on.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chair, to be fair ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  I will now move on, if I may.  Your Deputy Mayor ‑‑

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chair, I did not answer the last question.  The question was: do you agree?

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  You do not agree.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The answer to that question, Chair, is that over the last year we have been working hard on consulting Londoners.  I am criticised by your colleague to your left when I do not consult and am not transparent, and I am criticised by you when I do consult.  Look, I accept that I do not have all the answers, but that it is why it is important to consult Londoners.  I do not have the answers and so I consulted Londoners - including young people, including families, including community partners, including councils, including the police, including grieving families, including youth workers - to try to come up with a Strategy that will be successful.  I do not apologise for consulting those key Londoners because you will be aware from the question raised by Assembly Member Pidgeon that her concern was whether I am consulting boroughs.  Therefore, the answer is that I do not agree.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Mr Mayor, you were saying I am criticising when in actual fact I am trying to hold you to account, which I believe is what I am here to do.

 

If we can go on to the next question, your Deputy Mayor [for Policing and Crime] said that your administration now supports police potentially increasing the use of stop-and-search.  We are concerned for the sake of the police because in September 2015 you proposed a further cut to its use if you were elected Mayor and made a great amount of that.  Of course, you then started to support it.  Now, the last thing we want is for the police to be concerned that you might start saying that it has to stop again or reduce again when it comes to the next mayoral elections.  Can the police be absolutely confident that you will support an increase in stop-and-search, as your Deputy Mayor said, going forward because crime is on the increase under your mayoralty?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I think, Chair, I understand the question.  Can I have a go at what I think the question was, with your permission, Chair?

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Yes.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The answer to the question I think you asked, which was whether I support the intelligent use of intelligence-led stop-and-search, is yes.  Stop-and-search when used properly is an invaluable tool for the police.  The gamechanger as far as Londoners are concerned is not simply the training that gives the police the confidence but the body-worn videos.

 

I will give you a comparison.  Los Angeles Police Department has, roughly speaking, 7,000 body-worn videos.  We have the biggest rollout in the world.  There will be 22,000 body-worn videos by the end of this year, which will give the confidence to police officers.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Yes, I understand that.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Training -- body-worn videos gives them the confidence, but also to Londoners knowing this is an invaluable tool.

 

The good news is that Londoners support the intelligent use of stop-and-search.  Young people support the intelligent use of stop-and-search.  I support the intelligent use of stop-and-search.

 

Susan Hall AM:  At some point would you put in writing exactly what you define as ‘intelligence-led’, just so that we are all perfectly clear and so that the police know their bounds?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The Deputy Commissioner can answer that now and it is really important that you hear that answer.

 

Craig Mackey QPM (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service):  Yes, and can I just make a real point to be really clear?  No one can tell a police officer to do more or less of anything.  That is a call for an individual police officer based on the law and based on the framework in which they find it.  Officers are absolutely clear in terms of what is going on.  The Commissioner [of Police of the Metropolis] has been very clear.  She expects to see stop-and-search figures go up and they are going up.  We expect to see some use of section 60s, which gives the power that requires no suspicion, and so we do that.  We just need to be clear and I know it is not intended in any of this debate to make out that use of an operational tactic is a political decision.  It is not.  People will variously support or not support actions we take.  Frankly, I listen, I note, but we absolutely make those decisions.

 

Susan Hall AM:  OK.