A safer and more secure London

We all have friends, neighbours and colleagues whose lives have been blighted by crime. And many Londoners are rightly worried that cuts in policing are making our streets and neighbourhoods less safe. 

The Conservatives have left London a less safe city, and dangerously vulnerable, because our police force is spread so thinly. Cuts to the policing budget under the Tories have seen 63 of our local police stations close, and 23 per cent of our frontline policing presence lost. Most of the capital’s neighbourhood policing capacity – the officers you see walking your local streets – has been lost.

On the Tories’ watch, there’s been a worrying rise in violent crime, particularly knife crime. Hate crime is also on the rise, particularly troubling in a city known for its openness and tolerance. Too many victims of crime are treated as an afterthought or ignored altogether. For too long, London’s emergency services have been planned on the basis of cuts rather than Londoners’ needs – as a result, fire services have been cut so much that response times are now a danger to the safety of Londoners and there are serious questions about our preparedness for a major incident or attack.

London faces a real and constant threat from the spread of extremism, and I’m concerned that, right now, not enough is being done to root out and stop the people who are spreading vile ideologies and promoting terror. Alongside ensuring our uniformed services are prepared for the worst case scenario of another terrorist attack on London, these are undoubtedly the biggest security challenges London faces - and I do not believe the current Government’s strategy is delivering.

Trust and confidence are the cornerstones of the police’s legitimacy in the eyes of the community – and the basis on which members of the public feel comfortable in coming forward with evidence and intelligence. Without such information, the detection and prevention of crime, the challenging of gang activity, and even the identification of those spreading extremism or planning attacks upon our city are made more difficult. So I will ensure that building trust across London, with all communities, is a core priority for the Met over the coming years.

Keeping our communities safer

As Mayor, keeping you, your family, and your community safe is my top priority. That means ensuring that our police and fire services have the right priorities and resources, particularly at a time when the Government is starving them of the funding they need. I will:

  • Ensure that the restoration of real neighbourhood policing is the top priority for the Met, maintaining the role of officers as a visible local presence, helping to prevent and detect crime, and as the local eyes and ears our security services need to identify the spread of extremism at its roots.

  • Commit to tackling violence against women and girls, including prioritising a greater police presence on public transport at key times to clamp down on sexual assault,  zero tolerance of domestic and sexual violence and work closely with public sector and voluntary organisations on developing better support for victims of sexual and domestic violence.

  • Develop a cyber security strategy, led by the Chief Digital Officer I will appoint, working with the police and security services to ensure Londoners and businesses have the information and resources they need to stay safe online.

  • Undertake a full review of the resources required by the London Fire Brigade, with the aim of ensuring the service is fully equipped for the challenges ahead, not only for dealing with and preventing fires but also coping with major civil contingencies such as a terrorist attack or a flood. We need to look at both frontline and control room functions, and consider the impact and effectiveness of outsourcing.

  • Support the police to do their job efficiently and effectively, and make best use of officers’ time so that they can spend more time on the front line. I will invest in new technology that enables officers to access the information and data they need at their fingertips, and to record reports and witness statements speedily without officers having to return to a police station.

Challenging gangs, knife crime and violence

For many communities, gang activity, the related threat of violence, and in particular knife crime, are a shocking daily reality. No Londoner deserves to live in fear, and nor does any young Londoner deserve to be sucked into the gang lifestyle for lack of hope, opportunity or a strong role model. I will challenge gang culture and knife crime head on. I will:

  • Implement a tough knife crime strategy that focuses resources on the city’s gangs, cracking down on shops illegally selling knives and working on tougher community payback for those caught with knives, in addition to jail time and traditional sentencing.

  • Work closely with local authorities, schools and youth services to develop anti-gang strategies, while working with community organisations to further youth engagement, building upon a review of the anti-gang Matrix system.

  • Ensure that school liaison officers continue to work closely with schools, and continue to back the City Safe Haven initiative.

  • Sell Boris Johnson’s water cannon and spend the receipts on youth projects aimed at decreasing gang crime.

  • Fight for further powers over youth justice, probation and courts, so that the Mayor has a joined-up role across the justice system in cutting crime and reoffending.

Stopping the spread of extremism

Rooting out all forms of extremism and radicalisation are both crucial if we are to keep our city free from the threat of terrorism. I will:

  • Lead a renewed push to tackle extremism and radicalisation in London, promoting the integration of different communities, and supporting and empowering mainstream Muslims in speaking out and challenging extremism.

  • Ensure that our frontline, neighbourhood police have sufficient resources to do their job and capture the vital information our security services rely on.

  • Initiate an urgent review of the Met’s armed response capability to ensure the city is able to cope with the threat of major terrorism incidents.

Strengthening community and police relations

Too many communities and individual Londoners view the police with suspicion. This makes people within those communities less likely to report crimes or pass on information about gangs, or identify those who spread hatred or extremism. We can do more to build better relations between communities and the police, ensuring bonds of trust are developed. I will:

  • Promote a police force that looks like the communities it is charged with keeping safe, with the aim of having a Met that is as diverse as London’s population.

  • Ensure that stop and search is used in an evidence-based and targeted manner. When used in such a way, stop and search is a valuable tool in the fight against crime – but when used indiscriminately it can harm trust in the police.

  • Roll out the use of body cameras worn by the police, encouraging community confidence in policing and the capturing of crucial evidence.

  • Direct the Met to adopt a strict zero tolerance approach to hate crime – be it on the basis of someone’s age, sexuality, gender, religion, race, nationality or disability – and ensure they have the resources and training they need. In particular I will challenge the appalling increase in homophobic, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobia hate crimes.

  • Improve the experiences of victims of crime by introducing an online Track My Crime online portal to give victims information on progress on their case, and appoint an independent Victims Commissioner to stand up for victims across the capital. 

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