London is 'fantastically safe city', Met chief insists as homicide rate drops

6 January 2023, 07:20 | Updated: 6 January 2023, 08:48

Mark Rowley with Sadiq Khan
Mark Rowley with Sadiq Khan. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Kit Heren

London's top police officer has claimed that the city is "fantastically safe", with the homicide rate dropping last year, amid continued pressure on the Met after a series of scandals.

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Some 109 people were killed in homicides in London in 2022, down 17% on the year before and the lowest level since 2014, according to Home Office figures.

Nine of these killings involved a gun, 25% less than 2021, while 69 involved a knife, down 17% on the year before.

Met chief Sir Mark Rowley said: "London is a fantastically safe global city. Of course no city's perfect, but if you look at crime rates... it's a safe place to live and work and enjoy yourself."

But he was pressed on his plan to root out criminal behaviour within the Met after a string of high-profile convictions of officers for serious offences.

Sir Mark Rowley
Sir Mark Rowley. Picture: Getty

Asked about his plans to rebuild public trust in the force, he said: "I have got tens of thousands of men and women who are fantastic people, who care and want to make a difference.

"Sadly I've got hundreds I need to sort out and who shouldn't be in the organisation and as we do that you'll hear more.

"But I've got many, many more people who care about Londoners than some of those awful individuals that should never have been police officers."

Sir Mark was speaking at Box Up Crime, a gym in Ilford in east London that helps young people at risk of getting involved in crime turn their lives around.

Sir Mark Rowley: Frankly, we've been too weak at setting standards in the organisation

He was joined by London mayor Sadiq Khan, who joked that he could "have" his predecessor, the Conservative Boris Johnson, in a fight.

Mr Khan described Box Up Crime as "inspirational" and revealed how boxing had helped "transform" the lives of him and his brother when they were younger.

Read more: 'I'm going to sort it': Met chief says evidence shows there are officers in force treating women appallingly

Read more: Strikes could mean police are too busy filling in for the NHS to tackle burglaries and stabbings, Met chief warns

"When I was young, growing up in a council estate in south London, our local boxing club transformed the aspirations of my brother and myself," he said.

"The coaches there guided us towards constructive things to do, and boxing, like many other sports, can change people's lives and lifestyles."

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