Rory Stewart criticised Sadiq Khan for not offering young men youth services and mental health services as violent crime increases in the country’s capital. The former Conservative MP explained after spending time in the most difficult parts of London he was able to understand the complexities of violence issues. He added the lack of presence of uniformed police officers on London streets is to blame for the rise in crime.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Stewart said: “It’s about putting the pendulum back to the street and focusing again on the fundamental task of reducing street crime.
“To draw the analogy from when we were reducing violence in prisons, prison officers have to do a hundred different things from education to health to welfare.
“But it’s putting the focus back on the basics of safety and it’s having that clear objective which we’ve lost in the Metropolitan Police focused particularly on the safety on the streets.”
The host asked: “Why do you think it is violent crime in London rose last year but in other big cities it didn’t?”
Mr Stewart continued: “I think it is two things. There are very deep drivers of this, of course.
“I spent a lot of time over the last few weeks in difficult parts of London often with young men and it’s obvious the things we are talking about include the lack of youth services and issues stretching from care to mental health.
“But it’s also true that we’ve hollowed out the presence of uniformed police on the streets.
“We’ve lost both the people who are in the wards but we also lack the flexible response to going behind them.
“Simply in resource terms, other types of police officers have been focused on other types of crime.”
Mr Stewart plans to treble the number of community police on the streets.
The independent candidate wants to increase the number of officers to six in each of the capital’s 629 wards.
He also wants to create “surge teams” which send hotspots in emergencies.
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Mr Khan has faced repeated criticism for his inability to tackle London’s soaring order rate.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is tackling knife crime with a new dedicated Violent Crime Taskforce (VCTF).
The VCTF has 300 police officers focusing on the areas worst affected by knife crime.
The Met Police has also introduced targeted stop and search for areas worst affected.
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