Khan claims cuts mean ‘fighting crime with one hand tied behind our back’

The Mayor of London has said the Conservative government has forced City Hall to fight crime with “one hand tied behind our backs”, claiming a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government would be safer for the capital.

Labour’s Sadiq Khan joined Metropolitan Police officers in Stratford on Wednesday to discuss measures put in place to prevent violent crime over Easter.

He also visited charity XLP, where he spoke with young people about their upbringing in London and how the charity helped them to avoid crime.

The Mayor took a light-hearted swipe at the Prime Minister on hearing about activities at the youth club, which include dancing and weight-lifting.

He joked that he could not dance, adding: “Nor can Theresa May by the way.”

The Mayor has faced criticism from Conservatives over a surge in violent crime in London.

His predecessor Boris Johnson accused him last year of blaming “everyone but himself”.

But Mr Khan said central Government cuts to spending on police and other public services were behind an increase in violent crime.

“It is a fact, we’ve lost a billion pounds for the Met Police service over the last eight or nine years and over the course of next year.

“We’ve lost hundreds of millions of pounds for youth work, education and mental health.

Sadiq Khan and charity workers
Sadiq Khan and charity workers

“That’s causing an increase in violent crime.”

He added:“If Jeremy Corbyn was the Prime Minister, he would invest in public services, he would invest in more policing, he’d invest in youth work, he’d invest in the NHS, he’d invest in education.

“That all leads to a situation where rather than us having to fight this with one hand tied behind our back, we’d have the support needed from central government.”

The Metropolitan Police will be stepping up activity this Easter and City Hall has published online updated details of hundreds of activities available for young Londoners during the holidays and beyond.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty said: “Violent crime has been reducing, which is very positive news.

“However, with schools off for the Easter holidays, we expect to see an increase of people in public spaces, particularly if the weather is good.

“So to ensure young people can enjoy the break safely, the Met will be working closely with our partners in an uplift of activity to tackle public-place violence, with a particular focus on hot-spot areas in and around transport hubs.”