Johnson on knife crime: Khan must 'take responsibility'

23 July 2018, 00:17

Former London mayor Boris Johnson has said his successor needs to take responsibility for knife crime in London.

Mr Johnson said Sadiq Khan had been blaming "everyone but himself" for the rising number of knife attacks in the capital.

The current mayor's office said that was "desperate nonsense".

Writing in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, Mr Johnson said: "It is tragic that so many young lives are again being lost on the pavements of our capital.

"But for my money there is a further outrage - and that is the abject failure of the Mayor of London either to grip the problem, or even to take responsibility."

He added: "He [Mr Khan] blames everyone but himself, when it is his paramount duty to keep Londoners safe."

Mr Johnson, who recently stood down as foreign secretary, said it was a "scandal" that London's murder rate had been higher than New York earlier this year.

Stop and search powers for police "make a difference", he said, adding that it was a "serious mistake" for the Home Office to move away from them in 2015.

A spokesperson for Mr Khan responded: "This is desperate nonsense from the man who was in the government that slashed stop and search and funding for our police and preventive services and saw violent crime rise across the country.

"Sadiq is being tough on crime with extra money for the police and increased levels of targeted stop and search, as well as the causes of crime with money for youth services.

"But he has one hand tied behind his back - what City Hall can do is a drop in the ocean in the face of billions of pounds of government cuts and the mayor makes no apology for calling for more money for our police."

The number of knife and sharp instrument offences rose in London from 13,341 to 14,159 between 2010-11 when Mr Johnson was mayor.

Then the number fell for three consecutive years to 9,680 in 2014-15.

In May 2016, Mr Johnson left office and was succeeded by Mr Khan.

The following year, the Office of National Statistics shows an increase to 12,061 crimes in 2016/17 and 14,695 the next year.