Sadiq Khan’s Knife Crime Legacy – Conservative Article
Since being elected in 2016, Sadiq Khan has been Mayor of London. So, with the London Mayoral elections coming up on 6 May, it is time to look back on his term. Arguably, this election is not a case of party politics, as most people will probably welcome a new Mayor as long as they are fixing the issues that Sadiq Khan has failed to. The most prominent being his failure to tackle knife crime in London.
Between 2008 and 2011, knife crime in London rose from roughly 12,000 incidents to 14,000 incidents per annum. Former Mayor Boris Johnson managed to combat this increasing knife crime, managing to reduce it to 9,700 by 2012. However, Johnson decided not to run for a third term as Mayor of London, instead choosing to return to the House of Commons. This is despite his popularity as Mayor, with the majority of London’s population believing he did a good job.
During Khan’s time as Mayor, not only has knife crime increased again, it has surpassed the former peak crime rate to unprecedented levels of knife crime. Sadly, this knife crime has expanded to random acts of violence. This can be particularly shown in a new BBC article which highlights the issue of attacks on paramedics.
The London Ambulance Service is now having to trial bodycams on medics and stab-vests for their own safety. Clearly, Sadiq Khan is not inciting violence against NHS workers. However, these attacks have been increasing since April last year and during a global pandemic where our NHS workers are more vital than ever, we really cannot afford to be ignoring this issue.
In addition to knife crime, almost all forms of crime in London have been increasing during Khan’s time. He has also been accused of wasting taxpayers money multiple times (although with politicians that does appear to be part of the job description).
On top of this he has been pushing forward agendas that does not truly benefit many people, if at all. The majority of “Black British people” do not care about the removal of statues from the streets. Especially if their communities are being devastated by crime. Mentioning this, Sadiq Khan seems to have been quite successful as Mayor in pushing away his natural support base.
Not only has he been failing the people of London, but he has also been alienating them. Despite the admirable social mobility he has achieved from his very humble origins, he does seem to have forgotten where he started off from.
Interestingly, a large number of people who criticize him are not exclusively politically opposed to his own views. In fact, many (used to) share similar political ideals as him. Labour representatives from Islington have been criticising Khan since September when their Somali community was devastated by the murder of eighteen-year-old Kamal Nuur. He has even managed to alienate those with similar backgrounds as himself as shown in this article.
Overall, Sadiq Khan’s time as Mayor has resulted in unprecedented levels of knife crime. In addition to increased levels of most crimes, he has failed to maximise on the highest taxpaying area in the UK, all whilst alienating most of its population. Having him as Mayor has quite literally cost lives.
In the grand scheme of things, there is a good chance he could be re-elected. Although this will be due to London’s wealthy and bloated bourgeoisie population, who share his beliefs on Brexit, intersectionality, ‘privilege’ etc. But the fact of the matter is, Khan has failed the working population; those who have been affected the most by his inadequacies as Mayor since 2016.
At this point in time, it is almost certain Shaun Bailey would do a better job as Mayor. Then again, so could Sian Berry, Piers Corbyn (dependent on the current investigation), Peter Gammons, or even Count Binface (fingers crossed we see Count Binface in office this year).
Written by Senior Conservative Writer, Peter Pearce
Point of Information
Blame Labour for your own problems – A Liberal Response
I am not here to say that Sadiq Khan has been perfect. However, to blame him for the rise in knife crime is, well since I’m defending Labour, ‘it’s just wrong’, ‘it’s just not true‘. There are so many reasons it is the Conservative’s fault, I cannot combine them into just one response, but I will try my best.
Firstly, increased stop and searches that where encouraged by the Johnson administration are great when dealing with short term issue of knife crime. However, it will inevitably target BAME communities. Whatever reason you want to attribute that down to you can fill in yourself, but it happens. Black male youths are particularly targeted for these stop and searches. Combine this with videos of police shooting African Americans in America, anti-police sentiment builds.
That is why every city that has combated knife or gun crime successfully has installed the Community Initiative to Reduce Crime (CIRV). This policy has police and communities working together to build trust. It means young adults don’t carry knifes to defend themselves and instead look to the police. A perfect example of it’s success is Glasgow. If you wonder why it hasn’t been implemented in London yet, Khan wants to but it has been blocked by Conservatives cutting funding.
Why does trust matter you may ask? It is because young adults are carrying knives to protect themselves. They don’t trust the police to do it so they take that responsibility upon themselves. If you still believe it is gang-related, let Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe tell you you’re wrong; “Gangs are no longer responsible for the majority of knife crime in the capital.”
Secondly, austerity has hit these communities hard. We have seen cuts in these areas for after school activities drop by as much as 50%. All while exclusion rates rose by over 300,000 cases in 2017. This has been down to austerity and poor education policy for the last 10 years. Failure in the education system is responsible for the majority of people in jail right now. Fix it.
Khan can do better don’t get me wrong. However, sort your own mess out before you start pointing figures. You’re to blame here.
Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Max Anderson
Rises in knife crime are a result of narrowminded Conservatives – A Labour Response
This article distorts the truth. It needs to be disregarded as a heavily misguided (yet calculated) attempt at shifting the responsibility for a rise in knife crime from the Conservatives (who it rightly belongs to) onto Sadiq Khan.
The Conservatives, whose antiquated approach has provided us with nothing but futile solutions to a very serious issue, should be held accountable for their incompetence. Their policies of austerity have created the necessary conditions for knife crime to flourish. Austerity exacerbates pre-existing inequalities and disproportionately affects the working-class and People of Colour (POC).
It must be said that this article did make me laugh. Not the sort of laughter prompted by an episode of the American Office but a tragic laughter, used to distract me from the troubling implications that this article carries with it. When you claim that having Khan as our Mayor ‘has quite literally cost lives’, unironically using Johnson as an example of someone who prioritises human life, the hilarity reaches crescendo.
The truth is that ‘the statistics for total knife offences varied over the eight years of Johnson being Mayor, but were only marginally lower at the end (2008/9: 9,937 & 2015/6: 9,738)’. So, when looking more closely, there was actually a rise in knife crime in the middle of Johnson’s term. He then only managed to reduce it back to what it was when he first became Mayor in 2008.
Let’s talk about austerity. What is one of the more obvious solutions to knife crime usually advocated for by the Conservative party? An increase in the amount of police officers patrolling the streets. But over the last ten years, the Conservatives have cut Met Police staff by 47%.
In Wednesday’s Budget Briefing, Sadiq Khan was the one who set a goal of increasing Met Police staff by 6,000. So even when the Mayor adopts one of the ineffective and short-term solutions most vehemently advocated for by the Conservative party, he is still seen as neglecting the issue. It’s almost like he can’t do anything right in the eyes of a Tory.
He argues that in a recent study, there is a positive correlation between Conservative policies of austerity and knife crime. For example, three-quarters of the boroughs in London most impacted by youth violence are also listed in the top 10 most deprived boroughs.
We need to look at this issue holistically; adopt progressive ways of dealing with serious youth violence that have actually worked in other cities, like Glasgow. An article from the Times (god help me) states that ‘Police sources attribute the change to programmes that provide teenagers with an alternative to gang membership such as youth clubs, training and work’.
The issue of knife crime is complex and requires a nuanced approach. And this kind of approach, which brings attention to the factors that actually cause serious youth violence, such as, domestic abuse and social exclusion (premature school expulsions), have been suggested by only one mayor: Sadiq Khan.
Written by Guest Labour Writer, George Stroud
I am going into my second year at the University of Exeter studying a flexible combined honour in Geography and Politics. My interest in politics and geography stems from an interest in current events and the wider world, with geography being the study of all world processes.
I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.