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Sadiq Khan's £15m investment in tackling knife crime under fire as MP highlights 'racial bias' of stop and search methods

Sadiq Khan pledged to reduce knife crime but some politicians think his solution may become a problem in itself

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What is Sadiq Khan saying about police officer numbers?

Figures released by the BBC reveals the alarming reality of London's knife crime epidemic.

In 2017, more than 4,000 of the 19,243 people who were cautioned, reprimanded or convicted for carrying a knife in England and Wales, were under the age of 18.

This is the highest number for almost a decade.

The report added that there was more knife crime in the capital than anywhere else in the country, with nearly 150 knife crimes occurring per 100,000 people.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan began 2018 by giving an additional £15 million investment to New Scotland Yard to tackle London's knife crime culture.

However, not all politicians agree with his approach and Mr Khan has come under fire over plans to increase stop and searches.

 

Reduction in police officers

The significant reduction in the number of police officers in the capital has been attributed to the rise in London's knife crime.

According to The Guardian , the Metropolitan Police will reduced its force by 30,000 officers from this month.

Demands for police officers in some parts of west London are relatively low compared to the rest of the capital, it reported.

Yet, the reduction from 32 neighbourhood police enforcements to 12 basic income units (BIU's) means that Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Wandsworth will now have one single basic income unit between the four of them.

The Metropolitan Police will reduce its force by 30,000 officers from this month(Image: PA)

 

In response to increasing knife crime, Arif Ahmed previously told getwestlondon on a Facebook post: "Give the police proper powers and get rid of a government that is hell bent on cutting their numbers."

Charlotte Naylor said: "Teenagers run round thinking their gangsters. Growing up in the world doing as they please."

Locals such as Charlotte worry about their safety and protection, especially since knife crime among young people has hit an eight-year high.

According to The Guardian , there were a total of 215 fatal stabbings in England and Wales, with 61 deaths between 16-24 year olds.

Sadiq Khan's solutions

The Mayor has invested an additional £15 million to tackle the rapidly increasing number of knife attacks.

He said in his speech last month: "Of these additional funds, I am pleased to announce that an additional £15 million will be allocated to help officers on the streets to get to grips with knife crime."

After Labour’s pledge to be 'Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime' , Mr Khan has begun the 'London Needs You Alive' campaign, backed by famous faces such as young grime artist, Yungen.

The Mayor has invested an additional £15 million to tackle London's knife crime epidemic(Image: PA)

The aim behind the movement is to create awareness surrounding knife crime through social media platforms such as Instagram, the hashtag #LondonNeedsYouAlive and a Youtube video campaign.

However, as police numbers fall, knife crime is on the rise.

The number of young victims has reached an eight year high, getwestlondon previously reported.

Mr Khan has also introduced more stop and searches across London boroughs to prevent knife crime.

He said: "Our young Londoners are too valuable to risk their lives by carrying a knife."

Political backlash

However, some opposition politicians have highlighted concerns over possible discrimination, stop and search power may entail.

MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, argued that despite the fact that stop and searches may seem effective, black people in England and Wales are eight times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.

He went on to argue that the Mayor's "plan" consists of "racially biased" stop and searches.

Similarly, ethnic minorities are four times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.

According to The Guardian , black citizens were stopped and searched by the Met on 30,000 occasions with no avail - they were innocent.

However Mr Khan has reassured Londoners that real people, including families of victims inspired his campaign.

He told Leading Britain's Conversation (LBC) earlier this year: "The knife crime plan published last summer was as a result of speaking to bereaved families, experts, people who are involved in this [area of specialism]."

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