LONDON: London mayor Sadiq Khan has said the capital urgently needs more police officers as he called on the Government for more support. Mr Khan said the police needed to recruit officers “much, much quicker” than PM Boris Johnson’s pledge of 20,000 over three years.
Speaking at the Edinburgh Fringe, during an interview appearance with broadcaster Iain Dale, Mr Khan was questioned whether the Metropolitan Police “have London under control”. In response, he said that London needed more support from the Government.
Mr Khan said: “We’ve got fewer police officers now than any time since 2003, while the population has risen by two million. “Are the police worried about the lack of numbers? The answer is yes. Our police work so hard. They are under-resourced and over-stretched.
“We need more officers and so I’m using City Hall money – council tax and business rates – to recruit more, but we need central government to give us more support to reverse the cuts made.
“In the eight years before I became mayor, Boris Johnson never raised council tax to pay for police. In my first three years I’ve raised council tax the maximum I’m allowed to do by law to divert it to the police.
“Our police is funded by roughly 80% by central government and 20% by other sources. It’s now gone down to 70% from central because I’ve raised other sources, but I can’t fill the massive hole left by £1 billion of cuts.”
He also argued that London’s police force were using their stop and search powers in the way Mr Johnson favours but that there were too few officers left. He also said the “preventative side” of fighting knife crime such as youth clubs had been slashed due to cuts.
Mr Khan also stated he had written to Mr Johnson after the former Mayor was elected by Conservative Party members, but said he had not yet spoken to him since he took office.
The London mayor also gave his views on Mr Johnson’s first two weeks in office and branded the new Prime Minister a “liar”.
He also said he has filled his cabinet with ministers who have “seriously obnoxious views”, while he also expressed concern over the possibility of a no deal Brexit.