16 people stabbed in London in just five days: Here’s what the mayor plans to do
Image by David Nathan/UKNIP
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced proposals to invest a further £8.5m as part of his commitment to tackle violence in the capital and help raise standards in the Met Police last week.
Khan is proposing to allocate the additional funding to the Met and Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to help tackle drug supply lines, provide further training to leaders and line managers in the Met, and boost the work of his Violence Reduction Unit in an approach to tackling violence that is rooted in prevention and early intervention.
The funding plan has been announced as the mayor publishes his final draft budget for the Greater London Authority (GLA) Group for 2023-24 and takes into account that council tax and business rates returns from local authorities are higher than were forecast in the mayor’s draft Budget proposals in January.
The funding includes:
- £2.25m to further support work to tackle drug-related crime and harms, divert more drug users into treatment and rehabilitation, and safeguard young Londoners vulnerable to exploitation by drugs gangs.
- £1.5m for London’s Violence Reduction Unit to further support young people, grassroots organisations and communities to create innovative initiatives and ideas to tackle violence in their neighbourhoods.
- £1.5m for London’s Violence Reduction Unit to extend the IRIS programme offer in seven boroughs. The programme offers training for doctors and healthcare professionals to boost their abilities in identifying the signs of domestic violence and offering earlier help to victims.
- £3.3m to further support the new Commissioner’s drive for higher standards in the Met. The mayor is now proposing to invest a total of £15m in measures to raise standards and reform the culture of the Met, including a new Leadership Academy which will provide enhanced training for Met leaders and line managers, strengthening their capability to ensure the high standards expected by policing and the public are achieved.
The announcement follows a package of new funding for policing that was announced by the mayor last month as part his draft budget. That includes £14.2m to raise standards, improve performance and rebuild the trust and confidence of all of London’s communities in the Met Police service and further investments in policing raised from a proposed increase in the council tax precept. The £29.3m raised by this proposed increase will also fund 500 additional Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to work in local neighbourhoods disproportionately impacted by crime; and support other work to tackle violence and drugs in the city.
Khan said, “I’m committed to doing all I can to tackle violent crime and to make our city safer, and I’m proud to have invested record sums from City Hall to support the work of the police. We are seeing real progress with serious violence down in our capital since 2016, bucking the national trend, and a new Commissioner introducing vital reforms to the Met – but there is much more to do.
“This new City Hall funding will help to build on our work to tackle crime, further supporting my Violence Reduction Unit in tackling the complex causes of violence, creating more opportunities for young people and assisting the Commissioner in his urgent work to transform the culture of the Met.
“The safety of Londoners is my top priority, and this funding is another example of my commitment to building a safer London for everyone.”
Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said, “Last year, murders in London were down by 17 per cent, with 111 deaths compared to 131 in 2021. This means 20 fewer families suffered the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one to violence than in 2021. Importantly too, we have seen the number of teenage murder victims halved in our city last year compared to 2021. While the population of London continues to rise, the murder rate has fallen by half from a record high in 2003 of 222 murders.
“At the Met we are finding new ways to tackle violence, we have already made great progress closing in on London’s worst and most prolific offenders. Violence is rarely carried out in isolation – drugs gangs exploit the vulnerable and use violence to intimidate and sexually exploit others. As part of a new initiative called Operation Yamata, we have arrested more than 140 people for drug supply offences, charging 96 per cent of them with 393 drug trafficking charges – dismantling their criminal operations and taking over 60 weapons and £280,000 cash off the streets. 88 per cent of those we’ve charged under Yamata have been previously arrested for violence offences. Our Yamata Teams have already dismantled over 200 city lines in London. Yamata builds on the successes of our Op Orochi County Lines Taskforce, who this year have dismantled 525 County Lines, arresting 595 offenders and charging 87 per cent of them. 25 of those offenders charged by Orochi for drugs trafficking offences this financial year had been previously arrested for homicide.
“Every murder, and every violent act, is one too many, so our work continues at pace.”