Speech on security and extremism

Sadiq Khan Speech at One Great George Street: Monday March 20, 2016




Thank you for that kind introduction Jacqui.

Few people know as much as Jacqui about what it takes to keep our country and our city safe.


As Home Secretary, Jacqui has been there and taken the tough decisions.


She has lived and breathed security in order to keep us safe.

Thank you for your advice and guidance.



There is no greater responsibility for a Mayor of London than keeping Londoners safe.

It's a responsibility that I take extremely seriously.

London faces a deadly threat from extremism, radicalisation and terrorism.

It’s a threat that I will act to tackle as Mayor.

I will be the British Muslim who takes the fight to the extremists.

Who ensures London has the response capability we need to keep Londoners safe.


Who backs police to do what is necessary during terrorist attacks.


And who acts to tackle the underlying conditions that allow extremism and radicalisation to take root.




It is now more than a decade since 7/7, but the threat to London has not diminished.

No one who was in London on that day will forget the terror and the anguish.

I remember desperately trying to contact my wife to check that she and my daughters were ok and to reassure her that I was safe.


Millions of families made the same desperate efforts to get in touch on that awful day.

And during the terrible attacks on Paris last year, Londoners watched events unfold with a familiar fear, and painful sympathy with all Parisians.


It brought home that the extremists can still reach far beyond the borders of Iraq and Syria.

But worse – it showed that the greatest threat we face is from people who were radicalised here in this country.


It was a terrible reminder that we need to do much more in order to keep Londoners safe.




The appalling reality is that a growing number of people in London are being indoctrinated and radicalised into a perverse and disgusting ideology.

Extremists are exploiting the young, the vulnerable and the weak.

It is online grooming by any other name.

Extremism is a cancer eating away at our society and it is a problem that is getting worse.

Neither the Government, nor our wider society are doing enough to tackle extremism and radicalisation.

Young British children are still being tricked into running off to join Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Like the three school girls from Bethnal Green who ran off last year to marry terrorists in Syria.

As a Dad, I worry about my daughters

And that’s a fear that I know is shared by many parents in London.




I’ve always been open about the fact that I have seen the hatred and venom of the extremists up close.

I started my mayoral campaign with a speech in which I talked about how the extremists have targeted me and my family because of our mainstream British views.

Extremists have protested at local Mosques in Tooting and told people I’ve known since I was a boy – my friends and neighbours – that I am going to hell because I believe in democracy.

They have criticised me for taking part in what they call ‘man made laws’ and said that anyone who votes for me will be going to hell too.

I had death threats from extremists when I voted for same sex marriage. I had to discuss police protection with my young daughters – something that no parent should have to do.

It’s what makes me so determined to tackle extremism.

And why I unashamedly say today, that I will be the British Muslim who takes the fight to the extremists.




I’ll act to keep Londoners safe.

Jacqui knows better than most that the emergency services need to be prepared for every eventuality.

Earlier this month I went to Dartford to watch our emergency services training to deal with a major situation, as part of the unified response exercise.

Our emergency services do an incredible job, but it’s our responsibility to ensure they are properly resourced and trained.  

London is now almost permanently on a heightened terror footing. Now more than ever we need to ensure that London has the resources necessary for the worst case scenario.

I welcome the plans to expand London’s armed response capacity by 600 officers announced in January.

But in the face of current threats, we need to be absolutely certain that London has the capacity to deal with any threat that our city could face.

We need to be ready to deal with an attack like that on Mumbai, or on Paris, and be ready to deal with new threat that keep evolving and changing.

So on day one of my Mayoralty, I will order a full and comprehensive review of London’s emergency services capability to deal with a major terrorist incident.

And if gaps are identified, I will act to fill them.

I am determined to do what is necessary to keep Londoners safe.

And I want Londoners to know that I will give my full backing to our armed officers to take the decisions necessary to keep us safe.

No armed police officer ever wants to consider shooting with the intention, or likelihood, of killing,

And that is how it should be.

But our officers will know that if they are required to shoot to kill to keep Londoners safe during a terrorist attack – I will have their back.



Of course our police officers play a vital role in tackling extremism on a daily basis.


That’s why as Mayor, I’ll bring back real neighbourhood policing to London’s streets.

Community policing has been cut to the bone by the Tories.

The Met has faced cuts of more than £600 million under the Tories.

Officers are now stretched across many different neighbourhoods.

And the number of PCSOs has fallen by more than 70 per cent.

It has broken the ties that were built between dedicated Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the communities they served.

Close ties between police and community are crucial to securing the information that helps us to root out extremism and radicalisation.

The intelligence services increasingly rely on local policing knowledge to stop terrorist attacks.

Because people feel more comfortable coming forward and speaking to local officers who they know and trust.

But that link is being broken by the Tories, leading to neighbourhood policing to be hollowed out.

So I will make real community policing the number one focus of the Met once again.



To root out extremism and radicalisation we will have to address the underlying problems which allow it to grow.

As Mayor I will increase community integration and tackle the social segregation which allows extremists to prey on young Londoners.

I’ll ensure that people from different communities meet and engage with one another.

That no-one can grow up without knowing people from different backgrounds.

I’ll promote integration through planning rules - designing-in spaces where people can mix.

And I will promote community programmes that bring people from different backgrounds together, as well as much more.



As a British Muslim, I will always support and encourage the majority of mainstream British Muslims to speak out and challenge the extremists.

This is so, so important – we need mainstream British Muslim voices to speak out loudly and clearly.

Not because they are more responsible for extremism than anyone else, but because they can be most effective at challenging the poisonous ideology.




And I’ll do more.

I’ll push the Government to work with the internet providers to take down the extremist websites that are poisoning young minds.

Twitter has made a good start by taking down thousands of Daesh twitter accounts – but we need action across the board.

I’ll work with the Government to overhaul their anti-extremism and de-radicalisation programmes like Prevent.

Time and time again people on these programmes have ended up committing terrorist or extremist offences.

They are clearly failing and no longer fit for purpose.

And crucially, I will campaign relentlessly for Britain to remain in the European Union.

As the current Home Secretary and former Home Secretaries like Jacqui know, the EU plays a vital role in sharing information on terrorists and threats across member states, in implementing tough controls at airport security and repatriating criminals through the European Arrest Warrant.

It plays a vital role in keeping Londoners safe.

There really is nothing more important to me than keeping Londoners safe.




As Mayor, I will be the British Muslim who takes the fight to the extremists.

Who gives our experts and emergency services the resources they need to keep us safe.

And who tackles the underlying conditions that allow extremism and radicalisation to take hold.

Thank you.








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